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Friday, February 27, 2009

Walk This Way: Man's First Footprints

Photo by: Ho New/REUTERS

Scientists have discovered footprints in northern Kenya that prove human beings have been walking our walk for at least 1.5 million years.

Footprints found in Kenya that resemble those left in wet sand by beachgoers today show that 1.5 million years ago a human ancestor walked the way we do today with anatomically modern feet.

The footprints belonged to a Homo ergaster, one of the earliest ancestors of modern humans, believed to have lived throughout southern and eastern Africa. Scientists have been digging in northern Kenya, near the Turkana basin, looking for fossils and other clues to how human beings evolved.

Matthew Bennett, a professor of environmental and geographical sciences at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom, was the lead scientist on the excavation team. The discovery of the footprints is an exciting breakthrough, he said.

"It's filling in a real gap in our knowledge about when people developed a modern foot anatomy," Bennett told ABC News. "It brings back the age of when essentially a modern footprint was in operation."


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