Laetoli footprints are “surprisingly modern” according to articles in ScienceDaily 19 July 2011 and ABC News in Science 21 July 2011.

The Laetoli footprints are a series of footprints preserved in rock in Tanzania. Researchers from the UK, Belgium and Japan have used computer imaging techniques to analyse the Laetoli footprints and determine the walking style of whoever, or whatever, made them. The research team used image analysis based on methods used in functional brain imaging, to obtain clear three-dimensional views of the eleven intact prints in the trail, and then compared these with footprints made by humans and great apes.

The footprints are dated as being 3.7 million years old, but human ancestors with fully upright bipedal gait are not believed to have evolved until 1.9 million years ago. Because of the old date, the footprints have been presumed to be made by Australopithecus afarensis, a fossil ape-like creature whose best known example is “Lucy”.

However, as Robin Crompton of University of Liverpool explained: “It was previously thought that Australopithecus afarensis walked in a crouched posture, and on the side of the foot, pushing off the ground with the middle part of the foot, as today’s great apes do”. He went on to say: “We found, however, that the Laetoli prints represented a type of bipedal walking that was fully upright and driven by the front of the foot, particularly the big toe, much like humans today, and quite different to bipedal walking of chimpanzees and other apes.”

ABC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: As we have said before, if these footprints had been found on a beach today no-one would identify them as anything but human. It is evolutionist “old date” put on the rock layer containing the footprints, followed by the belief that humans didn’t evolve until long after the Laetoli footprints were buried, that force evolutionists to reach the foolish conclusion that the creature making the prints was ape-like in every way yet it made human-like prints.

That does not mean we think fossil prints should not be studied. The fact that footprints are such short lasting structures can tell us about rapid sedimentary coverage to fossilise them, and as a result fossil human footprints can also tell us about the spread of human settlement across a land.

Previous studies of the Laetoli footprints have shown them to be human, but anthropologists have consistently ignored such findings in favour of their belief in an evolutionary timeline.

Evidence News 3 August 2011

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