Human footprints found 300,000 years ago in Germany | Technology News

Scientists have discovered human footprints thought to be 300,000 years old, the earliest ever found in Germany.

Experts believe the well-preserved footprints were left by a family of Heidelberger hominids, a long-extinct human species.

The footprints were found at the Schöningen Paleolithic site in the Harz Mountains.

Ancient animal tracks have also been found at the site, including the first evidence of elephants in the region.

One of the footprints found at the site is believed to be that of a human being.Image: University of Tübingen and Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture
One of the human footprints found at the site.Photo: University of Tubingen

Heidelbergensis, formally known as Homo heidelbergensis, were the first known humans to build houses and often hunted large game.

They were found in Africa and western Eurasia from about 700,000 years ago to about 200,000 years ago.

The footprint discovery was made by an international team of researchers including scientists from the University of Tübingen in Germany Germany.

Fossil elephant tracks in Schöningen.Image: University of Tübingen and Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture
Footprints of what is believed to be an extinct elephant species have also been found.Photo: University of Tubingen

Dr Flavio Altamura, lead author of the study, said: “This is the first time we have carried out a detailed survey of fossil footprints at two sites in Schöningen.

“Of these footprints, three tracks matched hominid footprints – around 300,000 years old, they are the oldest known human footprints in Germany, most likely by the Heidelberger.

“Based on tracks, including those of children and juveniles, this may have been a family outing rather than a group of adult hunters.”

Dr Altamura said the findings confirmed that the extinct human species “dwelled along the shores of shallow lakes or rivers”.

“Depending on the season, there are plants, fruits, leaves, shoots and mushrooms around the lake,” he added.

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The team also analyzed a series of tracks believed to be those of Palaeoloxodon antiquus, an extinct elephant species that was the largest land animal at the time.

These creatures have straight teeth and adult bulls can weigh up to 12 tons.

The latest discovery follows the discovery in 2014 of more than 800,000-year-old evidence of human footprints off the coast of Norfolk.

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