Sunday, 1 March 2009

Ancient footprints found by BU professor

A Bournemouth University professor has helped to discover ancient footprints thought to be around 1.5m years old in Kenya.

Matthew Bennett, who is a Geography and Environmental Science lecturer, led the ground breaking research team who have been studying the vital find over the last three summers.

The footprints, the second oldest ever recorded, reveal new evidence of early human development and have modern human traits.

They are thought to belong to our unfortunately named ancestor Homo erectus, while also having similar foot and anatomical movements to what we're used to today.

“Now we know that 1.5 million years ago, Homo erectus had feet with an anatomy very similar to modern humans. It could essentially walk with the same biomechanical efficiency as you or I,” said Bennett.

He was also able to analyse the footprints using a digital laser scanner to create 3D images in order to determine their age.

The oldest footprints ever discovered were found in Tanzania and thought to be 3.75 million years old.