A team of scientists announced its discovery of what may be human or at least an unknown primate species’ footprints on the Greek island of Crete. If proven to be of hominin origin, this latest find would challenge and might change the current human evolution and dispersal theories.
These latest set of footprints was discovered embedded in rock in an area of the Greek island of Crete known as Trachilos. According to scientists, they are also 5.7 million years old. It is commonly held that, at this time, our human ancestors were still living solely on the African continent.
Uppsala University in Sweden researchers led by Per Ahlberg are behind this latest discovery. The team reported its identification of over 50 fossil traces found in an area no more than 4 meters square.
The Human-Like Footprints, Likely to Cause Controversies and Debates
In their news release, the researchers noted that the prints must have belonged to a “claw-less” and “bipedal” animal. This also ‘walked on the soles of its feet”, and is believed to have presented other hominin-like characteristics as well.
The researchers noted that the foot that left the marks had five toes, with the innermost ones being more developed than the outer digit. Some of the tracks also had “a distinct ball”.
“Human feet have a very distinctive shape, different from all other land animals,” underlined the team. “The interpretation of these footprints is potentially controversial,” continued the scientists.
The researchers’ analysis suggests that a hominin-like creature left these footprints. But the authors state that they “must also entertain the possibility” that these marks were left by an as yet undiscovered primate.
One that could have evolved “human-like foot anatomy”.
Ahlberg pointed out that this discovery is controversial because of the prints’ location and age. They are both earlier than expected and in a wholly different place. One that was also not easily accessible at the time.
The researcher considers that this discovery challenges the “established narrative of early human evolution” in a very direct manner. He also believes that it will be generating a lot of debates and points out that it remains to be seen if it will be accepted as proof of the evidence of hominins in Crete during the Miocene.
A research paper with the results is available in the journal Proceedings of Geologists’ Association.
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