oldest Uk foot prints

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oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Athena on February 11th, 2014, 10:31 am 

These foot prints washed away soon after they were found and photographed.

http://news.msn.com/science-technology/scientists-find-800000-year-old-footprints-in-uk

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.

British Museum archaeologist Nick Ashton said the discovery — recounted in detail in the journal PLOS ONE — was "a tangible link to our earliest human relatives."

Preserved in layers of silt and sand for hundreds of millennia before being exposed by the tide last year, the prints give a vivid glimpse of some of our most ancient ancestors. They were left by a group, including at least two children and one adult male. They could have been be a family foraging on the banks of a river scientists think may be the ancient Thames, beside grasslands where bison, mammoth, hippos and rhinoceros roamed.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Obvious Leo on February 11th, 2014, 3:26 pm 

Athena wrote:These foot prints washed away soon after they were found and photographed.


I always work on the principle that if it sounds like bullshit it probably is. The various hominin migrations from Africa have been reasonably well dated and this so-called evidence contradicts a huge database of counter-evidence which hasn't conveniently disappeared. Even the Piltdown man was a more plausible hoax than this one.

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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Marshall on February 11th, 2014, 10:56 pm 

http://news.msn.com/science-technology/ ... ints-in-uk
Happisburgh
PLOS ONE
Lets get some detail on this before we form an opinion either way.
plos one is an interesting journal. Here's a sample
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0087186
Not many professional journals are FREE, most are behind the paywall

Here's the article in question, Nick Ashton et al
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0088329
===quote===
Hominin Footprints from Early Pleistocene Deposits at Happisburgh, UK

Investigations at Happisburgh, UK, have revealed the oldest known hominin footprint surface outside Africa at between ca. 1 million and 0.78 million years ago. The site has long been recognised for the preservation of sediments containing Early Pleistocene fauna and flora, but since 2005 has also yielded humanly made flint artefacts, extending the record of human occupation of northern Europe by at least 350,000 years. The sediments consist of sands, gravels and laminated silts laid down by a large river within the upper reaches of its estuary. In May 2013 extensive areas of the laminated sediments were exposed on the foreshore. On the surface of one of the laminated silt horizons a series of hollows was revealed in an area of ca. 12 m2. The surface was recorded using multi-image photogrammetry which showed that the hollows are distinctly elongated and the majority fall within the range of juvenile to adult hominin foot sizes. In many cases the arch and front/back of the foot can be identified and in one case the impression of toes can be seen. Using foot length to stature ratios, the hominins are estimated to have been between ca. 0.93 and 1.73 m in height, suggestive of a group of mixed ages. The orientation of the prints indicates movement in a southerly direction on mud-flats along the river edge. Early Pleistocene human fossils are extremely rare in Europe, with no evidence from the UK. The only known species in western Europe of a similar age is Homo antecessor, whose fossil remains have been found at Atapuerca, Spain. The foot sizes and estimated stature of the hominins from Happisburgh fall within the range derived from the fossil evidence of Homo antecessor.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Marshall on February 12th, 2014, 1:51 am 

FWIW here is part of the Wikipedia article on this hominid species "Homo antecessor"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_antecessor
==quote==
Fossil sites

The only known fossils of H. antecessor are from two sites in the Sierra de Atapuerca region of northern Spain (Gran Dolina and Sima del Elefante). Other sites yielding fossil evidence of this hominid have been discovered in the United Kingdom and France.

Gran Dolina
Archaeologist Eudald Carbonell i Roura of the Universidad Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain and palaeoanthropologist Juan Luis Arsuaga Ferreras of the Complutense University of Madrid discovered Homo antecessor remains at the Gran Dolina site in the Sierra de Atapuerca, east of Burgos in what now is Spain. The H. antecessor remains have been found in level 6 (TF6) of the Gran Dolina site.
More than 80 bone fragments from six individuals were uncovered in 1994 and 1995. The site also had included approximately 200 stone tools and 300 animal bones. Stone tools including a stone carved knife were found along with the ancient hominin remains. All these remains were dated at least 900,000 years old.[9] The best-preserved remains are a maxilla (upper jawbone) and a frontal bone of an individual who died at the age of 10–11.

Sima del Elefante
On June 29, 2007, Spanish researchers working at the Sima del Elefante site in the Atapuerca Mountains of Spain announced that they had recovered a molar dated to 1.1–1.2 million years ago. The molar was described as "well worn" and from an individual between 20 and 25 years of age. Additional findings announced on 27 March 2008 included the discovery of a mandible fragment, stone flakes, and evidence of animal bone processing.[10]

Suffolk, England
In 2005 flint tools and teeth from the water vole Mimomys savini, a key dating species, were found in the cliffs at Pakefield near Lowestoft in Suffolk. This suggests that hominins can be dated in England to 700,000 years ago, potentially a cross between Homo antecessor and Homo heidelbergensis.[11][12][13][14][15]

Norfolk, England
In 2010 stone tool finds were reported in Happisburgh, Norfolk, England,[16][17] thought to have been used by H. antecessor, suggesting that the early hominin species also lived in England about 950,000 years ago – the earliest known population of the genus Homo in Northern Europe.

In May 2013 sets of fossilized footprints were discovered in an estuary at Happisburgh.[18] They are thought to date from 800,000 years ago and are theorized to have been left by a small group of people, including several children and one adult male. The tracks are considered to be the oldest human footprints outside Africa and the first direct evidence of humans in this time period in the UK or northern Europe, previously known only by their stone tools.[19] Within two weeks the tracks had been eroded by the tide, but scientists were able to make 3D photogrammetric images of the prints, and attributed them to H. antecessor.[5]

Lézignan-la-Cèbe, France
Twenty tools dating back to the Paleolithic (pebble culture, 1.6 million years ago) were found in 2008.[20]
==endquote==
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Marshall on May 21st, 2014, 12:05 pm 

It raises the question of how the Homs got out to Britain from the mainland.

And since their feet in ancient time
Did tramp on England's muddy shore,
What vessel had those Hominim
To carry them the Channel o'er?


This was on the order of a MILLION YEARS AGO. It's pretty far to swim, and I would think that to get successfully started in a new place you'd need to bring a few implements along with you.

Did Hominims a 0.8 million years ago have BOATS?

BTW the article has a lot of diagrams, maps, photographs. It looks like they found footprints of a range of sizes, from a number of individuals of different ages. What happened to preserve the prints seems fairly well understood. They found 49 footprints in all over an extended mud-flat area roughly 2 meters by 6 meters.

There's a clear direction---the multi-age group of Homs were walking south.

Here's the link again, and a bit of the abstract summary. Footprint and other finds in Africa and elsewhere are described.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0088329
===quote===
Hominin Footprints from Early Pleistocene Deposits at Happisburgh, UK
Nick Ashton et al

Summary:
Investigations at Happisburgh, UK, have revealed the oldest known hominin footprint surface outside Africa at between ca. 1 million and 0.78 million years ago. The site has long been recognised for the preservation of sediments containing Early Pleistocene fauna and flora, but since 2005 has also yielded humanly made flint artefacts, extending the record of human occupation of northern Europe by at least 350,000 years. The sediments consist of sands, gravels and laminated silts laid down by a large river within the upper reaches of its estuary. In May 2013 extensive areas of the laminated sediments were exposed on the foreshore. On the surface of one of the laminated silt horizons a series of hollows was revealed in an area of ca. 12 m2
...In many cases the arch and front/back of the foot can be identified and in one case the impression of toes can be seen. Using foot length to stature ratios, the hominins are estimated to have been between ca. 0.93 and 1.73 m in height, suggestive of a group of mixed ages. The orientation of the prints indicates movement in a southerly direction on mud-flats along the river edge…

==endquote==

Happily enough they took 3D photos and preserved a digitized 3D record of the exposed surface with the prints. So in that sense there is an exact permanent record of the Hominin footprints.

It was William Blake who asked:

"And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?"

in the same poem where he declared:

"…

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land."
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Paralith on May 21st, 2014, 1:14 pm 

Marshall, I'm having a difficult time finding the exact information I'm looking for, but I think that around 1 million years ago was a period of higher glaciation than we see today, which means sea levels overall would have been lower, and the watery distance between the UK and mainland Europe would not have been so great as it is now. And in fact, there was a landbridge between the UK and Europe during a much more recent glaciation period that is called Doggerland : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doggerland. If this landbridge existed during one glaciation period, chances are good that it existed during others as well.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Marshall on May 21st, 2014, 1:37 pm 

fascinating! It would be neat to see a a conjectured land bridge mapped out, for that 1 million BP period, if you do happen to find one. Thanks!
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby curiosity on May 21st, 2014, 3:06 pm 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00gmvfr

Coastal erosion here is at times alarmingly rapid and the boulder-clay is very much like modelling clay, so there cant be a much better medium for leaving footprints in. Unfortunately I didn't know about the find at the time, or I would have wandered down and had a look for myself.

Regards, Graham.
Last edited by zetreque on May 21st, 2014, 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed broken url
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby curiosity on May 21st, 2014, 5:45 pm 

There seems to be a problem with the link I offered in my last post. It is probably easiest to google.....
english channel geology
Then scroll down to "How the english channel formed, BBC."
When I copied the link, then opened it in a new tab, it worked ok too. "Hope that gets you there !"
Regards, Graham.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby zetreque on May 21st, 2014, 5:53 pm 

fixed it Graham, thanks

now it says content unavailable, sometimes these videos only work regionally. I know PBS does the same thing.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Marshall on May 21st, 2014, 6:09 pm 

same here "content unavailable". But there is a STILL frame of a map showing a land bridge from west tip of France to SE corner of England and it mentions "100s of thousands of years ago".

I hope someone who can get the bbd video segment will put it up on YouTube some time!
I don't know how complicated it is to put a few minutes of video up on YouTube, hope it's not a big bother.

It said Anna Grayson talks with geologist Phil Gibbard about how the channel formed. I googled and did a YT search for some alternative source of the interview but no luck.

That could indeed the way the Muddy Feet people of a million years ago got to England :^D.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Athena on May 23rd, 2014, 10:25 am 

I got busy and forgot this thread. I really like what you have done to it. I googled land bridge Britain to continent and got many interesting choices. I chose this one: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/blogs/m ... in-britain It has nice pictures that didn't copy and what I copied is about half way down the link.
3. Happisburgh about 840,000-950,000 years ago



Sibbick-HappisburghReconstruction.jpg



Reconstruction of the site at Happisburgh by John Sibbick. (copyright AHOB/John Sibbick)



Shortly after the Pakefield discoveries, Mike Chambers was out walking his dog at on the beach at Happisburgh (prounced Haze-boro) and discovered a flint handaxe in sediments recently exposed on the foreshore. This remarkable discovery sparked a major programme of geological and archaeological work at the site that has discovered at least four other Palaeolithic sites at Happisburgh.



One of the sites is even older than Pakefield and pushes the timing of the occupation of Britain back by at least 100,000 years. The key geological formation has since been named the Hill House after the local pub!



Bytham_Thames.jpg



A Palaeogeographic map of Britain the in Early Pleistocene (about showing the land bridge between Europe and the position of the Thames and Bytham rivers. (Courtesy of Simon Parfitt and the AHOB Project).



At this time there was a land bridge between Britain and France that would have aided migration of humans from continental Europe. The English Channel was first cut about 450,000 years ago following a major flood from a glacially impounded lake in the position of the present day southern North Sea. The Thames did not follow its current course but flowed further north through Norfolk converging with the ancient river Bytham.



The saltmarsh foraminiferal species Jadammina macrescens has been recovered from Happisburgh and is consistent with interpretations that the site is situated near the mouth of the ancient large river, possibly the River Thames.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby curiosity on May 23rd, 2014, 7:36 pm 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:UK_Ha ... _BP_EN.svg

I'm impressed by your tenacity Athena. The above link gives a better idea of where Happisburgh was relative to the current coastline. What is now the county of Norfolk was certainly a hive of activity during the Neolithic era; As the flint mines called Grime's Graves show; So it comes as no surprise to me that this area in general was inhabited much earlier than that.
Regards, Graham.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Forest_Dump on May 24th, 2014, 8:55 am 

As to the validity of this find, there are a couple of points that I think should be born in mind. Erosion often scours away overlying sediments and anything heavier can become deflated and compressed into one layer before becoming buried again. Put more simply, the surface exposed may now also have artifacts from younger periods of time up to and including artifacts from May 2013 that were deposited along with artifacts and ecofacts from older times.

In addition to the above, there is also the possibility that footprints can be intrusive through over-lying sediments. Think of it this way. If you were to wade across a muddy estuary you would probably sink into the mud somewhat (speaking as someone who has waded through mud that was waist deep). Your footprints could then be made in mud 30-50 cm (or more) below the exposed surface and preserved in sediments that haven't seen the light of day for even longer periods of time.

In short, before accepting such a seemingly extraordinary claim, I would prefer to see evidence of over-lying sediments that had not been swept away by erosion 5000 years ago, for example, or someone wading through knee deep mud 2000 years ago, etc. By the sounds of things, we aren't going to get this kind of data from here because the over-lying sediments have been eroded away so we won't really know how old the footprints were. But you never know, there might be independent confirming data coming from somewhere else.
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Re: oldest Uk foot prints

Postby Athena on May 26th, 2014, 1:50 pm 

The English channel has indeed changed over time. Here is an explanation of the changes, with pictures.

http://www.qpg.geog.cam.ac.uk/research/ ... formation/
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