In Laetoli, Tanzania, researches were investigating the area where a new field archeology museum was proposed when they found two sets of human footprints. These footprints were left in volcanic ash 3-4 million years ago, likely by members of the Australopithecus afarensis species. Based on the size of the footprints, researches estimate that they were left by a female standing 4’9” and weighing 87 pounds and a male standing 5’5” and weighing about 100 pounds. These tracks were found near three other hominid tracks from the same time period. For comparision the skeleton of Lucy, a famous member of Australopithecus afarensis, stands at only 3’6”.

Marco Cherin, the coauthor of the report, argues that the five sets of footprints could indicate that Australopithecus afarensis males traveled with a small harem of females, much like the behavior or gorillas. This conclusion, however, is heavily disputed. Our expert, Kevin Hong, warns that extrapolating body size from foot size is itself error prone, and drawing inferences about social behavior from these footprints is pure speculation. Indeed, there is no way to know if these five people even passed through the area at the same time.

Original Article
Scientific Source

Acknowledgements: Many Thanks to Kevin Hong from the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University

Corrosponding Author: Emily Kerr

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