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Italy's "Devil's Trails" Are World's Oldest Human Footprints

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Author Topic: Italy's "Devil's Trails" Are World's Oldest Human Footprints  (Read 1488 times)
Bianca
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« on: October 20, 2008, 01:23:06 pm »



                     

                     The "Devil's Footsteps" were left in volcanic ash
                     345,000 years ago

                      Image:
                      Elsevier/Scaillet
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 01:40:29 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2008, 01:38:22 pm »








Sergio D'brante
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    'Devils' trails' are world's oldest human footprints
« on: October 15, 2008, 03:28:28 am » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




                                      'Devils' trails' are world's oldest human footprints





13 October 2008
NewScientist.com
news service
Catherine Brahic

 It's official: the oldest human footprints ever found are 345,000 years old, give or take 6000.

Known as the "devils' trails", they have been preserved in volcanic ash atop the Roccamonfina
volcano in Italy.

The prints were first described to the world by Paolo Mietto and colleagues of the University of
Padova in Italy in 2003 after amateur archaeologists pointed them out.

At the time, the team estimated that the prints were anywhere between 385,000 and 325,000
years old, based on when the volcano was thought to have last erupted.

Now, Stéphane Scaillet and colleagues at the Laboratory of Climatic and Environmental Sciences,
France, have used argon dating techniques to verify the prints' age.

"Their more rigorous methods confirm that these are the oldest human footprints ever found," says Mietto.
The new findings also confirm that the owners of the footprints were Homo heidelbergensis.





Trail blazers


Mietto is setting off next week to excavate a second site, some 3 kilometres away.

Early visits have convinced him that there are more human footprints, and he says it is highly likely
that they are the same age.

The excavations should help reveal a trail that was used by early humans.

Mietto says that based on their stride, the people responsible were walking, not running.

What's more, the prints are in both directions: leading to the volcano and away from it.

Their owners were therefore not running away from a volcanic eruption and the prints must have
been left some time after the event.

Dating experiments have not always confirmed suspicions. In 2003, a team discovered 40,000 year
old footprints preserved in volcanic ash in southern Mexico.

But when a separate group dated the Mexican prints using the argon technique used by Scaillet,
they found that they were 1.3 million years old.

Since this was before modern humans evolved in Africa – the team concluded that they couldn't
be human footsteps after all (see the very first Americans.





Journal reference: Earth and Planetary Science Letters (DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2008.08.026, in press)

Human Evolution – Follow the incredible story in our comprehensive special report.



http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/dn14924-devils-trails-are-worlds-oldest-human-footprints.html?feedId=earth_rss20
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 01:39:39 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2008, 01:42:40 pm »




           







                 
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Bianca
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2008, 01:44:42 pm »





               

                Parco Naturale Regionale Roccamonfina
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Bianca
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2008, 01:46:31 pm »





                 

                 CALDERA OF ROCCAMONFINA
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Bianca
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2008, 01:48:18 pm »




                                   


Here, it is not rare to find fossil imprints of seashells on the rocks......



http://www.roccadevandro.net/Archivio%20stampa/art_ladefensa.htm
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Bianca
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2008, 01:51:51 pm »

                     








                                                       Roccamonfina Volcano






Campania, Italy

41.3 N, 14.9 E
summit elevation 1005 m
Volcano type unknown



Roccamonfina volcano has been extinct since antiquity, but is still shaken by seismic activity.

The oldest human footprints have been found on Roccamonfina volcano.



Eruptions of Roccamonfina Volcano

50,000 - 650,000 years ago
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Keith Ranville
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2008, 02:44:45 pm »





                 

                 CALDERA OF ROCCAMONFINA

Hi Bianca, that pic' looks like a ghostly Skull head?
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Bianca
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2008, 02:50:41 pm »






Sure does, Keith!!

You must be getting ready for Halloween, eh?
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Keith Ranville
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2008, 04:48:30 pm »

Hi Again Bianca,

Actually I like Halloween, some of the best times of my life are remembered on that day!    Grin
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