They are the highest number of footprints ever found in one place and give an insight into the African ancient civilization
The northern part of Tanzania in Africa lies the sacred volcano named Ol Doinyo Lengai, and it’s here that a team of anthropologists claimed to have discovered hundreds of ancients footprints preserved in the desolate ground for what could be nearly 19,000 years.
The team of geologists led by Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce, from Appalachian State University, could help understand the how early Africans lived and traveled. The unusual find shows prints from both women and children and even someone walking with a possible broken big toe, according to a ScienceAlert report.
It’s thought the ancient footprints were preserved due to a steady flow of mud and ash from the volcano that would have dried out within days of the footprints being created. The footprints are an exciting find because, up until now, the information about ancient civilizations have been pieced together through physical debris such as tools and examining human and animal bones.
“It’s a very complicated site,” one of the team, William Harcourt-Smith from the City University of New York, told National Geographic. “There’s one area where there are so many prints, we’ve nicknamed it the ‘dance hall’, because I’ve never seen so many prints in one place. It’s completely nuts.”
The tribes at the time were thought to be highly nomadic and so the footprints could provide a window into how and in what direction they moved.
“The footprints were created (and then preserved) sometime between 19,000 and 10-12,000 years ago. This means that the Engare Sero prints are latest Pleistocene in age. The footprints at Engare Sero add to the unique record of fossil footprint sites throughout the world. They record traces of our ancestors, their activity and behaviour during the latest Pleistocene along the margin of Lake Natron in Tanzania,” Liutkus-Pierce told the Mail Online.
Details of the find were published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.