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Britain's Eastern Coast Yields Oldest Human Footprints Outside Africa 120

schwit1 writes "They were a British family on a day out — almost a million years ago. Archaeologists announced Friday that they have discovered human footprints in England that are between 800,000 and 1 million years old — the most ancient found outside Africa, and the earliest evidence of human life in northern Europe. A team from the British Museum, London's Natural History Museum and Queen Mary college at the University of London uncovered imprints from up to five individuals in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh on the country's eastern coast."
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Britain's Eastern Coast Yields Oldest Human Footprints Outside Africa

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  • by Alsn ( 911813 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @12:34PM (#46203035)
    As far as I know, the model states that humans migrated from Africa a couple of hundred thousand years ago. Footsteps in Britain from "humans" 1 million years ago would seem to contradict this? Or does this simple mean that these footprints are a Neanderthal precursor species or something similar that's not actually "proper" humans?

    Anyone with some more knowledge of this care to shine a light on this?
  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @12:49PM (#46203131) Homepage
    Depends on the varient of the theory. One of those is that there were multiple diasporas of early humans out of Africa, but most of the early explorers died out in the ice ages or other calamities, while others may have survived longer to become the various off shoots of the human tree found in the fossil records. I'd say that idea doesn't really suffer from this find, if anything it strengthens it and establishes that humans must have started expanding out of their ancestral homelands much sooner than many may have thought and certainly doesn't prevent all of us current humans from from being decended from a much more recent Mitochondrial Eve that lived in Africa approx 100,000-200,000 years ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 09, 2014 @01:15PM (#46203287)

    multiple diasporas are strongly supported by fossil and tool evidence

    this is just the first example of footprints as far north as Britain

    There is no clear proof that these were (they have already washed away) anything more than depressions that looked like footprints

  • by tylernt ( 581794 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @01:30PM (#46203369)

    I'm sorry, but how can anyone really believe that these pre-date the creation of the planet? Was anyone THERE at THAT TIME to OBSERVE exactly when and by whom the footprints were made? Seems pretty silly to me to believe in this non-obervational "science"!

    You appear to be proceeding on the assumption that direct observation is the only reliable method of determining truth. By this standard, I must infer that you do not believe in God, since you have certainly never directly observed Him. Yes?

  • by claytongulick ( 725397 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @05:17PM (#46205107) Homepage

    Ok, I try to avoid getting involved in religious conversations like this, but you are coming across as a typical ignorant elitist here, sneering down at things you clearly don't understand. We all get that you aren't religious, but that doesn't give you the right to present skewed information taken out of context. So, I'm going to completely waste my time here and present some *actual* information on each one of your points in the vain hope that in the future you will temper your snark.

    Questions like:

    1. Can I sell my daughter into slavery? Yes! []

    What you aren't saying, is that at the time selling children into slavery was a common practice throughout much of the "civilized" world. This 'law' was put in to place to *protect women*. The reason why is that normally when a child was sold into servitude, they would be freed after a period of time. Since (by far) the reason that women were taken as 'servants' or ('hand-maidens' depending on the interpretation) was as second wives or concubines, it was grossly unfair to the woman to then release her from service after she had been used as a sex object for years. No one would want to marry her, and she was essentially screwed. To protect against that, this law was put into place saying essentially, that if you're going to take this woman on, you have to care for her forever, you can't just have sex with her for a few years while she's pretty and then kick her out once she gets older.

    2. Should I avoid all contact with women during her period? Yes! []

    Again, you're totally cherry picking here. Leviticus rules of cleanliness were generally *good* things. At the time, they simply didn't understand biology, and sanitary practices were spotty at best. This was the origin of laying down some rules for sanitary practices, which is a good thing, even if they seem strange to us now. And by the way, Leviticus' admonishments were by no means limited only to women:

    Leviticus 1-5:
    "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When any man has a discharge from his body, his discharge is unclean. And this shall be his uncleanness in regard to his discharge; whether his body runs with his discharge, or his body is stopped up by his discharge, it is his uncleanness. Every bed is unclean on which he who has the discharge lies, and everything on which he sits shall be unclean. And whoever touches his bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening."

    This was relating to abnormal discharge, no one really understood STD's, they were just doing their best at the time. But great job completely misrepresenting Leviticus as anti-female in order to push some sort of agenda.

    3. Can I buy slaves from neighbouring nations? Yes! []

    Again, you're totally misrepresenting the law here. A the time, this was incredibly progressive. Slavery was rampant and commonly accepted, to limit the bounds of slavery and who could be enslaved was a great step in the right direction. Considering that even the U.S. still hadn't worked out slavery issues as of only 140 years ago, applying 21st century morals to a progressive law created to put bounds and limits on slavery thousands of years ago... well, that's just childish.

    4. Should I kill someone who works on a Sunday? Yes! []

    I don't even understand your point here. Are you saying this is still a problem? I mean, I agree - we need to stop the rampant slaughter of all the people who work on Sundays in America. Oh wait... you mean, this doesn't happen? At all? So, clearly it was a law intended for another time - a time that penalties were pretty damn harsh for just about any infraction. There's some question about how tightly this was int

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @06:02PM (#46205407) Journal
    Yes, Homo Sapiens (proper humans) first appeared about 200kya. However there were other species of "humans" well before that, they too originated from Africa and walked upright. The ice ages regularly pushed the spread of all primates back toward the equator.

    Also if you (gasp) RTFA it tells you that the prints were probably left by Homo Antecessor, (pioneer man), sadly the prints were washed away 2 weeks after they were discovered so we can never know for sure.

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