Oldest human footprint shows how our ancestors dragged their heels

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Oldest footprint

Oldest footprint (Image: SWNS)

Formed 153,000 years ago, this is the world’s oldest human footprint.

Scientists say it was made by homo sapiens on South Africa’s Cape South Coast.

This one – which shows signs of a dragged heel – was found in the Garden Route National Park, west of the coastal town of Knysna.

Charles Helm, research associate at Nelson Mandela University, said: “The footprints are natural casts – they ­are from the layer of ­ sand that filled the footprints in.

“The oldest footprint is lightly outlined in chalk. ­

A 3D image of the footprint

A 3D image of the footprint (Image: SWNS)

It appears long and narrow because it includes a heel drag.”

The find is chronicled in Ichnos, the international journal of trace fossils.

The authors, who were studying ancient South African tracks, said: “The oldest, which dates back 153,000 years, is ­one of the more remarkable finds recorded.

“It is the oldest footprint thus far attributed to our species. Tracks left by our ancient ancestors dating back more than 50,000 years were excessively rare.”

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