In the Mediterranean island of Crete, ancient, human-like footprints that were fossilized into the sea shore have been discovered. The problem is, they should not have been there, not at that time, and now scientists are wondering just how much this affects what we know about human evolution.
According to News Australia, the foot prints were found in the Trachilos area of western Crete and they have prominent human-like features suggesting that the creatures that left the prints walked upright.
Discovered by lead paleontologist Gerard Gierlinski while he was on vacation in the island in 2002, the prints have been studied for more than a decade to analyze their place in human history. The prints were fossilized within a sedimentary rock layer that was created when the Mediterranean Sea dried up about 5.6 million years ago.
That presented a unique problem for scientists who believe our human ancestors had ape-like feet. These prints were distinctly human, having a long sole, four short toes, no claws and most importantly… a big toe.
Many evolutionary scientists have long concluded that our ancestors were descended from the creatures behind Australopithecus fossils that were found in South and East Africa, as well as a 3.7 million-year-old set of “upright hominin” footprints found in Tanzania.
With this new discovery, however, it seems that we may actually be linked to the creature that left the Crete footprints, which pre-dated the fossils that paleontologists have used for decades to determine human ancestry.
“The interpretation of these footprints is potentially controversial,” the study published in the latest edition of Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association states.
“The print morphology suggests that the trackmaker was a basal member of the clade Hominini (human ancestral tree), but as Crete is some distance outside the known geographical range of pre-Pleistocene (2.5 million to 11,700 years ago) hominins we must also entertain the possibility that they represent a hitherto unknown late Miocene primate that convergently evolved human-like foot anatomy.”
In layman’s terms, that means that this discovery may point to a previously unidentified human-like creature that walked the Earth long before science ever believed was possible.
What does this mean for mankind’s history upon this Earth?
More study into the prints will have to be made. But as for now it may be time to throw out the old anthropology book and begin creating a new one.
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H/T RedFlag News