Ancient Human Footprints Discovered Near Volcano In Africa

Posted: Oct 13 2016, 5:10am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Ancient Human Footprints Discovered Near Volcano in Africa
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic Creative
  • 19000-Year-Old Human Footprints discovered near a sacred Volcano in Africa

Scientists discover more than 400 ancient human footprints near the southern shore of Tanzania’s Lake Natron in Africa.

A volcano termed the Mountain of God by the Maasai has in its nearby area a series of ancient footprints. These look to be in a well-preserved state. They belong to a period as old as 5000 to 19000 years in the past.

There are over 400 footprints. The loci in which they are extant is a bit bigger than a tennis court. It spreads out over the beige mudflat of Engare Sero. Tanzania’s Lake Natron lies closeby.

There is no other site matching this one in all of Africa. So many human footprints make it a virtual bonanza for scientists who want to build a model of humanity as it existed in its early days in a piecemeal manner.

Some of these ancient humans were jogging through the muddy terrain. A 12 minute mile pace was what they accomplished on a regular basis. Some of the footprints indicate a person with a broken toe.

There are more footprints showing that a dozen people, most of them females and little ones, made their way across the terrain. They were probably headed for unknown regions in the southwest.

The mud that acted like a cast recorded everything regarding their journey. This included the tiny droplets that fell from their feet to the ground as they made their way to their destination in a hurry.

The leader of the modern research effort who looked into the whole matter remembers getting out of his vehicle and gazing upon the vast array of footprints.

He actually shed a tear or two upon viewing the epic scenario. He spoke of how human origins lay close to his heart. Where we came from and how we are here are questions that fascinate him deeply.

It was a lesson in emotions as he peered out at prehistory in the making. These human footprints have definitely withstood the test of time.

“The first time we went out there, I remember getting out of the vehicle, and I teared up a little bit,” said Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce, the Appalachian State University geologist and National Geographic grantee who led the research that got published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

“Human origins is a huge interest of mine: where we came from, and why we are who we are. It was definitely emotional to see our own history in this.”

Australia too has a similar area where human footprints are extant. Yet what is interesting about Engare Sero is that it offers a glimpse into what life was like for human beings way back then. It is a pretty complicated scene you find here.

There is even an area that has so many footprints in succession that it has been labeled as the dance hall. The site is there due to a volcano that exists nearby.The volcano is termed Ol Doinyo Lengai.

The human pilgrimage that occurred here so long ago was something which didn’t receive notice until the year 2008. That was when the exploration and excavation began in earnest. Finally, today 3D scans and models of the site are being constructed by scientists.

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