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Early human footprint

Early human footprint

E438/0131

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Credit

PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Early human footprint. Researcher Marco Avanzini using chalk to mark a fossilized footprint found in volcanic rock on the Roccamonfina volcano, near Naples, Italy. It is part of a set of footprints known locally as "devil's tracks". They were identified as human in 2003, and have been dated to 385,000-325,000 years ago. The shape of the tracks here indicates they were made by sliding through volcanic ash from an eruption. The size of the footprints, about 20 centimetres long, suggests that they were made by a hominid 1.5 metres tall, standing fully upright (erect). The age indicates that they were made by Homo heidelbergensis, a descendent of Homo erectus and an ancestor of modern man (Homo sapiens).

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