As early humans pursued their prey: Traces left by our 800,000-year-old ancestors are found in East Africa

Pursuing the sandy shore of the lake about 800,000 years ago, a small hunting party closed on a herd of antelopes that came out from under the water. Now the traces of these early human hunters left in the soft sediments, as they approached their prey, reappeared for the first time since they were made.

Anthropologists have discovered traces of “multiple” individuals, which, in their opinion, were created by the early human species Homo erectus in the middle of the desert in southern Eritrea.

A number of traces left by the “multiple” Homo erectus were found on a sandstone slab (pictured) in the Danakil desert in southern Eritrea. It is believed that the footprints are about 800,000 years old and were made in soft sand along the shoreline of a prehistoric lake


The first thought that evolved about 1.9 million years ago in Africa, Homo erectus was the first human species to become a true global traveler.

It is known that they migrated from Africa to Eurasia, extending to Georgia, Sri Lanka, China and Indonesia.

They varied in size from just under five feet in height to more than six feet. With a smaller brain and a heavier eyebrow than modern humans, it is believed that they were a key evolutionary step in our evolution.

It is believed that they disappeared about 70,000 years ago and may have spawned a number of different disappeared human species, including Homo heidelbergensis and Homo antecessor.

It is believed that Homo erectus lives in the societies of hunter-gatherers, and there is some evidence that they used fire and made the basic stone tools.

Spread across a stone slab with an area of ​​280 square feet (26 square meters), fossilized footprints are the oldest that were discovered in the area.

They promise to reveal new details about how this prehistoric human ancestor went.

Homo erectus is believed to be the first early form of Homo, which was recognizable by a person walking vertically on two legs and resembling a modern person in size.

Traces that were discovered on the site near Buiya in the middle of the Danakil desert in southern Eritrea.

It is believed that this area is the birthplace of the community of Homo erectus, living there up to a million years ago.

Professor Alfredo Koppa, anthropologist at the University of La Spaienza in Rome, has been excavating the site for several years now – Aalad-Amo.

Imprints were found moving from north to south, along with prints left by extinct species of antelope that were preserved when the lake flooded and the sand solidified.

Speaking to MailOnline, Professor Koppa said that the footprints were made by “more than one person” and could reveal new details about the anatomy of the foot and the movement of these human ancestors.

He said: “Because of their ephemerality in soft sediments, the tracks tend to change and quickly break down.

The preservation of footprints is an exceptional phenomenon, representing a view of the lives of Homo erectus people who are in motion in their ecosystem hundreds of thousands of years ago.

“Homo erectus – a key species in the evolution of man, which today evolved into the ancestors of modern people.

Anthropologists say that the footprint was made by “more than one” man and promised to reveal a new understanding of how people evolved to walk in a vertical position. The prints show the details of the fingers, the shape of the legs and the arch. Scanning a sandstone slab with prints

Traces were found on a place called Aalad-Amo in the middle of the Danakil Desert in southern Eritrea (see Map above)

“Printed forms resemble prints made by modern people, offering a common modern form of foot and a way of walking.

“Fossil trace collections are very rare. Those who are in Eritrea show the details of the toes, and the shape of the foot includes an outstanding arch and a big toe in accordance with others, features that make the human legs distinctive and effective when walking and running. ”

The imprints were discovered by Professor Koppa and his Eritrean guide Hussein.

At first glance, the tracks look very much like those left by modern people, but a more careful study showed that they belonged to a much older species.

Professor Kopp and his colleagues at the National Museum of Eritrea are currently scanning and dating the rock in the hope of confirming who they belong to.

Impressions (pictured) were originally identified by local guides of research groups. They are the most insignificant traces that can be found in Eritrea and were found on the site where in the past were found the remains of five or six people Homo erectus

They, however, are by no means the oldest traces left by the early human species that were discovered.

A series of footprints found in Laetoli in Tanzania date back to 3.7 million years and is probably left by early human species, such as Australopithecus afarensis.

Last year, anthropologists announced the discovery of dozens of human footprints in Kenya, numbering 1.5 million years.

It is believed that they were left by the Homo erectus group during the hunt for the antelope.

In 2014, researchers announced that they found that it was considered the oldest human trace outside of Africa, found in Happingburg, Norfolk.

Traces were found next to the hoofed footprints of extinct antelopes (pictured), leading researchers believed that they may have remained on the hunting side watching the antelope

It is believed that about 50 prints, both adults and children, will be at least 850,000 years old and can be made by an extinct human ancestor known as Homo antecessor.

Professor Koppa said that the age of the fingerprints found in Danakil is not yet confirmed, but if they refer to human remains discovered in the vicinity, they are likely to be about 800,000 years old.

Speaking to MailOnline, Professor Koppa said: “At that time, we have evidence that only Homo erectus lived in this area. The level at which we find fingerprints is well traced geologically.

“Probably more than one person has left traces, but we need more accurate evidence to be more precise.

Homo erectus (the skull depicted on the left, the reconstruction depicted on the right) is believed to be the key early human ancestor in our own evolution. Although he had a brain less than modern people, it is believed that Homo erectus mastered the use of fire and basic stone tools

“We will return in November to try to get a more extensive and detailed documentation, in which you can see the body weight, height, weight and communication skills of the group.”

His team found several teeth and part of the skull in two places in Danakil in the past. They say they found the remains of five or six people.

At that time the area is thought to have been covered by a vast lake surrounded by grassland.

Whether this group of early human hunters were able to extract prey during the hunt is not clear, but the marks they left on the sand when they closed, survived the test of time.

Professor Koppa said that, in his opinion, there could be many more tracks on the site waiting for disclosure.

He said: “Probable traces of Homo erectus, found in Aalade-Amoar, were preserved in hardened silt sand, which was found during water erosion and can represent several individuals.

“At present, there are 26 square meters of sediment bearing traces, and much more surface seems to be covered by overlying sediments.”

Daily Mail

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