Scientists are reexamining footprints found in ash from a volcano millions of years ago in modern-day Tanzania. The footprints were discovered for the first time in the 1970s. In 2019, scientists began looking at them again. They were taken aback when they discovered that two distinct species had left the tracks in the ash.
In 1976 and 1978, two sets of tracks were uncovered. Scientists thought they were left by a human ancestor and another creature, such as a bear, at the time. However, experts now believe two distinct kinds of human ancestors left imprints. The traces are the earliest evidence of humans walking on two feet in the fossil record.
Dartmouth College’s Jeremy DeSilva co-wrote the research. According to DeSilva, the imprints suggest that there were multiple methods of walking upright during the period. This is because a pair of footprints found in the vicinity in 1978 shows a distinct walking style. The footprints discovered in 1978 have been connected to Australopithecus afarensis, a human progenitor. That is the early human family to which ‘Lucy’ belongs. Lucy is a well-known set of bones discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia. Years ago, experts could not believe the 1976 footprints were related to humans since one foot crossed over the other as the entity moved. This is known as “cross-stepping,” according to DeSilva. He described it as “unusual.”
The experts estimate the individual that created the newly discovered stairs stood roughly one meter tall. They can only speculate on what additional characteristics it could have had. According to DeSilva, the steps may have been done by an undiscovered human ancestor or a previously unrecognized one.
According to scientists, contemporary humans diverged from chimps between 6 and 7 million years ago. Walking on two legs was a critical evolutionary milestone. As a result, scientists are ecstatic about the discovery. Human ancestors were able to walk upright thanks to changes in the bones of the hips, spine, feet, and legs. This occurred millions of years before the appearance of modern humans, known as homo sapiens, 400,000 years ago. Scientists believe the alterations occurred so that early people could observe deadly creatures in the African grasslands better.