Ancient Human Footprints
This is a fascinating discovery:
About 20,000 years ago, humans trekked along the margins of a shallow lake in Australia, leaving behind records of their passage in the soft, wet sand.
In 2003, an aboriginal woman who is likely a descendant of those early Australians stumbled across dozens of timeworn footprints in the same area. Excavations of the site have since uncovered hundreds more.
The discovery, detailed in a recent issue of the Journal of Human Evolution, represents the largest collection of Pleistocene human footprints in the world, and the only footprints from that era ever found in Australia. In total, 457 footprints have now been uncovered.
Humans weren’t the only ones that passed through the area. The prints from two kangaroo hind paws are visible, as are the tracks of a baby emu, a large flightless bird similar to an ostrich.
PHOTO above: Some of the footprints are so detailed that toe impressions can be made out. Credit: M. Cupper, S. Webb, R. Robbins