Ancient footprints open to public in Italy

Oct 09, 2007

Italian researchers have opened two tourist paths to follow in the oldest known human footsteps at the extinct Roccamonfina volcano north of Naples.

The footsteps, which were discovered on the slopes of the volcano in 2003, were opened to the public last week and researchers said they plan to expand the attraction, Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.

"We've just found another set (of footprints) and we're confident of expanding the site," said Paolo Mietto, a researcher from Padua University.

"These tracks are unique evidence of how our earliest ancestors got about," Mietto said.

The marks, which also include handprints, have been dated by Italian scientists to more than 350,000 years ago. They are currently the oldest evidence of foot travel by an early species of human, thought to be Homo erectus.

The Padua team said the find marks the first evidence that the early humans could use their hands to descend slopes.

"They were on slippery ground here, warm volcanic mud awash with water," Mietto said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: More than two dozen articles provide insights on mummies

Related Stories

New Japan volcano island 'natural lab' for life

5 hours ago

A brand new island emerging off the coast of Japan offers scientists a rare opportunity to study how life begins to colonise barren land—helped by rotting bird poo and hatchling vomit.

Recommended for you

More than two dozen articles provide insights on mummies

6 hours ago

In a special issue, The Anatomical Record ventures into the world of human mummified remains. In 26 articles, the anatomy of mummies is exquisitely detailed through cutting edge examination, while they are put in historical, archeo ...

The Bronze Age Egtved Girl was not from Denmark

May 21, 2015

The Bronze Age Egtved Girl came from far away, as revealed by strontium isotope analyses of the girl's teeth. The analyses show that she was born and raised outside Denmark's current borders, and strontium ...

Oldest-known stone tools pre-date Homo

May 20, 2015

Scientists working in the desert badlands of northwestern Kenya have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans, and by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered. ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.