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1 million- year old human footprints uncovered in UK

Some researchers speculate that the footprints may have been left by humans who might have been related to Homo antecessor,  whose bones have been found in Spain.
Some researchers speculate that the footprints may have been left by humans who might have been related to Homo antecessor, whose bones have been found in Spain.
Handout from British Museum

Anyone who thinks that the average human being can’t make a lasting, need only to visit the British Museum in London, to see a set of prehistoric footprints found in ancient mud from as estuary at Happisburgh on England’s eastern coast.

The footprints, the oldest found outside of Africa, were made by 5 people, including one adult male and two children some 800,000-1 million years ago, according to archeologist Nick Ashton, part of the discovery team that also included researchers from the Natural History Museum and Queen Mary college at the University of London.

“This is at least 100,000 years older previous estimates if when the first humans settled in Britain, and is particularly significant because 700,000 years ago, the climate here was comparable to warm, Mediterranean-style temperatures, while the earlier period was much colder, similar to modern-day Scandinavia,” he explained.

The scientists now hope that they will eventually be able to find some fossilized remains that will give them more of a clue to just who these people were and how they may have lived.

In the meantime, images of the footprints will be the centerpiece in an exhibition, "Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story," opening at the Natural History Museum next week. Sadly, however, it was reported that the footprints themselves, (which survived for almost 1 million years), won't be there, having “been washed away by North Sea Tides” only fourteen days after the waters first exposed them.