The biggest collection of footprints from the human fossil record in Africa is explained in Scientific Reports today. The findings, which further our understanding of human life throughout the Late Pleistocene period (126,000 to 11,700 years ago), suggest a department of labour in ancient human neighborhoods.
Kevin Hatala and associates discovered 408 human footprints in Engare Sero, Tanzania after the website was discovered by members of a nearby Maasai neighborhood. The researchers dated the footprints to in between 19,100 and 5,760 years back. Based upon their size, the distances between them and their orientations, the authors recommend that 17 tracks of footprints were developed by a group of individuals moving together at walking speed in a southwesterly direction. The group was likely comprised of 14 adult females, 2 men and one young male. The authors speculate that the women who made the tracks were foraging together and were visited or accompanied by the males, as this behaviour is observed in modern-day hunter-gatherers such as the Pains and Hadza. The findings might indicate a division of labour based upon sex in ancient human neighborhoods.
For an extra 6 tracks of footprints oriented to the northeast, the authors approximate a wider variety of variation in speed, which may suggest that they were not created by a single group taking a trip together, however by numerous people running and walking at different speeds.
The findings offer a photo of the motions and group behaviour of contemporary people residing in east Africa during the Late Pleistocene duration.
Hatala, K.G., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H., Gordon, A.D. et al. Photos of human anatomy, locomotion, and habits from Late Pleistocene footprints at Engare Sero, Tanzania. Sci Representative10, 7740 (2020). DOI: 10.1038/ s41598-020-64095 -0
Archaeology: Fossilized footprints recommend ancient humans divided labor (2020, May 14).
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