The oldest human footprints – left more than 1.5 million years ago – have been discovered in northern Kenya.
Two sets of prints left by Homo ergaster, an early ancestor of modern humans. were found in separate rock layers near Ileret. Laser scanning revealed that feet have stayed much the same over 1.5 million years and the creature walked the same way as people do today.The prints bore all the hallmarks of a modern human stride, including an arched foot, short toes, and a big toe that was parallel to the other toes. As in modern humans, weight was transferred from the heel to the ball of the foot and then to the big toe with each step. The find is the first of its kind since the famous discovery 30 years ago of footprints dating back 3.75 million years at Laetoli, Tanzania. These older prints are thought to have been left by the more primitive and apelike Australopithecus.
A fossil footprint left by a human ancestor about 1.5 million years ago in Kenya has been discovered. Photo © REUTERS