Six-million-year-old pre-human footprints, the oldest evidence of pre-human activity ever discovered, have been found on the Mediterranean island of Crete.
The footprints from fossilized beach sediments were found near the west Cretan village of Trachilos in 2017, but the results of a detailed study of the prints have only recently been published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.
The international research team, led by scientists from Germany’s University of Tübingen and Sweden’s Uppsala University, say the footprints were made by an upright bipedal non-human individual six million years ago, making them the oldest direct evidence of a human-like foot being used for walking.
These footprints predate imprints thought to have been made by the famous “Lucy”, a skeleton of pre-human Australopithecus afarensis origin found in Tanzania during the 1970s.
“The tracks are almost 2.5 million years older than the tracks attributed to (Lucy) from Laetoli in Tanzania,” says lead researcher Uwe Kirscher from the University of Tubingen.
The findings also question the “Out of Africa” theory that humanity originated in Africa before spreading across the globe, as these new footprints indicate that life existed in Eurasia over six million years ago.
No doubt the 'origin' debate will rumble on for many years to come...