Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Oldest ancient human ancestor footprints ever discovered in Britain

See also

The first evidence of human occupation of Britain by early human ancestors was presented by a team of scientists led by Queen Mary University of London, the British Museum, and the Natural History Museum in London that was published in the Feb. 7, 2014, edition of the journal Public Library of Science.

More Photos

The Early Pleistocene evidence of human ancestors in Britain was found in Happisburgh in the United Kingdom and dates to between 780,000 years ago and one million years ago.

The researchers found the footprints of as many as twelve different early humans during a period in May 2013 when the waters near Happisburgh had receded. A rigorous analysis of photographic evidence and dating indicate that the first early humans or early human ancestors in Britain were three adults and nine children or adolescents based on the depth of the footprints. Evidence of human flint knapping had been found at the site that dated to 350,000 years ago.

The shape and size of the footprints and the reconstruction of the feet that made the footprints from present evidence indicates the first known early human ancestors in Britain could have been Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, and or late Neanderthals.

Recent reevaluations of the age of Homo antecessor found in Spain correlates well with the age of the footprints.

These are the earliest known evidence of the presence of human or early human ancestor in Britain. The researchers consider that Britain may have been physically a part of Europe during the time or was separated by a narrow and shallow channel that allowed the hunter-gatherers to venture into Britain for perhaps the first time. This is the first evidence of any human ancestor of this age living outside of Africa.



  • Baseball Hall of Fame
    The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomes six new inductees
  • 2012 do-over
    If we were to re-do the 2012 election, a new poll suggests Romney would win
  • Boko Haram
    Boko Haram kidnaps the wife of the vice prime minister of Cameroon
    World News
  • Ceasefire breaks
    Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas broke another brief ceasefire
  • Close call with CME
    Scientists tell how Earth survived a giant solar flare back in 2012
  • Comic-Con
    What's going on at Comic-Con? Get all the latest updates here

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>