Prehistoric Footprints Found in Crete Defy Our Understanding of Human Evolution

Researchers are fascinated by footprints that appear to be made 5.7 million years ago and debate continues to rage on about whether they are from our human ancestors.

Ancient hominin footprints found on the island of Crete have thrown our understanding of human evolution out the window. Most scientists and historians alike believed that after separating from the chimp ancestors our hominin forefathers developed and stayed in Africa until around 1.5 million years ago. Yet here in Crete prints have been recovered that belong to a creature that would have lived over 5 million years ago. This would suggest that our human ancestors could have been living in Europe at the same time while they developed in Africa. This interesting discovery shines a light on the fact that human evolution is a much more complex and mysterious tale than first thought.

imgur.com

Currently, the oldest footprints that we know of are those found in Laetoli, Tanzania. These footprints called the Laetoli series are dated to be from 3.6 million years ago. This human ancestor is named the Australopithecus and is known to have had a foot function which mirrors our own.

So are these Crete footprints human-like?

Much more research is needed to confirm what type of animal made these prints, however, it appears that the footprints have definitely been made by an animal that walks upright. The animal appears to have walked on the soles of his feet rather than his toes, yet the footprints show a clearly the existence of a big toe like our own. This supports the theory that these footprints have been left by one of our hominin ancestors because an ape’s big toe sticks out sideways. The paper does note that the footprints are much slimmer than the shape of human footprints but argues this could have been due to them being left in the wet mud.

Could it not have been left by a Gorilla?

The big toe argument does actually lead to another debate. The feet of Gorillas also have a big toe placed pretty close to their other toes. It is widely agreed that all the animals that today create the African savannah such as giraffes, antelopes, and rhinos at some point lived in the southern Balkans area of Europe. As landscape and climates changed they ended up migrating from the Balkans into Africa. Could some sort of great ape or gorilla have decided to stay in Crete?

Definitely, more research is needed to confirm what sort of creature has left these footprints, but their discovery is certainly very interesting! The team of researchers behind the study has confirmed they will be making their data accessible to other institutions so one will hope that with further tests and scans it will shine a light on the mystery that is human evolution.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Wolverine Horror Frog Breaks It Own Bones For A Claw

    The hairy frog or the horror frog as eloquently known is not only a strange looking creature in the animal kingdom. It also possesses a trait which as far as everyone knows is completely unique. When under aggression or needing to defend itself from a predator, the hairy frog will break its own toe to...

    Read More
  • So Many People Were Buried Alive A Safety Coffin Was Patented

    During the 17th and 18th century one of the great fears that played in the back of everyone’s mind was the possibility of being buried alive. With sicknesses and diseases often ravaging whole communities, sometimes mistakes were made. It could only take someone falling into a deep fever, with their breathing extremely lowered for them...

    Read More
  • The Mouse That Believes It's A Wolf

    If you heard this creature deafening cry during the night, you may be mistaken to think a wolf was right behind you. Definitely, you would not want to hear it creep up behind you howling in a forest, though if it did you may be forgiven for breaking down into nervous laughter. Because this is...

    Read More
  • New York’s Secret Subway

    New York officially opened a subway in 1904 which changed the way the city operated forever. However what is relatively unknown is that this was not actually New York's first subway, in fact, the first subway ever opened in America was opened in New York and it was actually a complete secret. [caption id="attachment_4545" align="aligncenter"...

    Read More
  • 3000 Pound Dinosaur Could Sit On An Their Eggs Without Crushing Them

    Ancient bird dinosaurs were so heavy they would have weighed around the same amount as a rhinoceros. Yet much like the chicken they laid eggs and sat on them, to provide protection and warmth, so how did these 3000-pound dinosaur birds do that without crushing the eggs into hundreds of little pieces? [caption id="attachment_4542" align="aligncenter"...

    Read More
  • Man Who Was Able To Save Millions Of Babies

    One man was able to save the lives of more than 2 million babies in Australia, and no he was not called Superman, though he should probably be. By donating his “special” blood that doctors were able to use to make a special medication, this man was able to save millions of babies from life-threatening...

    Read More