Ancient Human Footprints Along Ileret, Kenya Lakeside

An ancient footprint from Ileret, Kenya: one of several sets showing evidence of Homo erectus males travelling in groups.
An ancient footprint from Ileret, Kenya: one of several sets showing evidence of Homo erectus males travelling in groups.

In the late 2000s, 22 footprints were found near Ileret, Kenya. These prints are beleive to be 1.5 million years old. The study documenting this find focused on the anatomy of these footprints; Homo erectus who ambulated much like modern humans. Neil Roach, from the AMNH, returned to Ileret and have found more footprints — about 100. The findings were presented at this week’s annual meeting of the Paleoanthropology Society in San Francisco. These prints represent multiple individuals walking in one direction along a lakeside, possibly hunting for antelope or wildebeest. Curtis Marean, from ASU, questions this presumption,

Who knows what they’re doing there. It could be a group hunt, but it could also be lakeshore foraging. It’s a completely novel piece of data. I think it’s a really interesting way to get an angle on what communities were doing in the past.

One thought on “Ancient Human Footprints Along Ileret, Kenya Lakeside

  1. Fascinating discoveries, thaks a lot. Professor Marean’s interpretation is right, of course: these lake-side footprints confirm that Pleistocene archaic Homo did not run or scavenge or hunt on open plains (which is impossible locomotorically, phyisologically etc., google: econiche Homo), but always followed the coasts & rivers, in Africa & Eurasia, beach-combing, diving & wading bipedally for littoral, shallow aquatic & waterside plant & animal foods: shellfish can be opened with stone tools & is richest in brain-specific nutrients such as DHA (Cunnane 2005). This “littoral dispersal model” (Munro 2010) is corroborated by a lot of recent papers, e.g.
    -J.Joordens, S.Munro cs 2014 Homo erectus at Trinil on Java used shells for tool production and engraving, Nature doi 10.1038/nature13962
    -M.Verhaegen, S.Munro 2011 Pachyosteosclerosis suggests archaic Homo frequently collected sessile littoral foods, HOMO J.compar.hum.Biol.62:237-247
    -S.Munro 2010 Molluscs as ecological indicators in palaeoanthropological contexts, PhD thesis Univ.Canberra
    -J.Joordens cs 2009 Relevance of aquatic environments for hominins: a case study from Trinil (Java, Indonesia), J.hum.Evol.57:656-671
    -M.Gutierrez cs 2001 Exploitation d’un grand cétacé au Paléolithique ancien: le site de Dungo V à Baia Farta (Benguela, Angola), Compt.Rend.Acad.Sci.332:357-362
    -K.Choi, D.Driwantoro 2007 Shell tool use by early members of Homo erectus in Sangiran, central Java, Indonesia: cut mark evidence, J.archaeol.Sci.34:48-58
    -S.Cunnane 2005 Survival of the fattest: the key to human brain evolution, World Scient.Publ.Comp.
    -M.Vaneechoutte cs eds 2011 Was Man more aquatic in the past? eBook Bentham Sci.Publ.
    -P.Rhys Evans cs eds 2013-2014 Human Evolution conference London May 2013 proceedings, special editions Hum.Evol.28 & 29
    -M.Verhaegen 2013 The aquatic ape evolves: common misconceptions and unproven assumptions about the so-called Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, Hum.Evol.28:237-266, google: researchGate marc verhaegen, or independent academia edu/marcverhaegen

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