What is Laetoli?
Who discovered the Hominina footprints at Laetoli?
When were the Laetoli footprints dated to?
What is the most commonly proposed species that made the Laetoli footprints?
What do the footprints indicate about the characteristics of the hominins who made them?
How did the discovery of the Laetoli footprints settle the debate about human evolution?
How many different animal species were present at the Laetoli site besides A. afarensis?
What was the reason for re-burying the Laetoli footprints in 1979?
What measures were taken in 1993 to preserve the Laetoli footprints?
Laetoli is a pre-historic site in Tanzania famous for its Hominina footprints preserved in volcanic ash, discovered by Mary Leakey and her team in 1976, which provided convincing evidence for the theory of bipedalism in Pliocene Hominina. The site is a registered National Historic Sites of Tanzania. The footprints are the oldest known evidence of hominin bipedalism at that time, dated to 3.7 million years ago. The identity of the Hominina who made the trace is difficult to construe precisely; Australopithecus afarensis is the species most commonly proposed. The footprints indicate the characteristics of obligate bipedalism. The location and tracks were discovered by archaeologist Mary Leakey and her team in 1976, and were excavated by 1978. Other prints show the presence of twenty different animal species besides the hominin A. afarensis. Before the discovery of the Laetoli footprints, there was much debate as to which developed first in the human evolutionary time line: a larger brain or bipedalism. The discovery of these footprints settled the issue, proving that the Laetoli hominins were fully bipedal long before the evolution of the modern human brain, and were bipedal close to a million years before the earliest known stone tools were made. The footprints were classified as possibly belonging to Australopithecus afarensis. The findings also provide insight into the climate at the time of the making of the footprints. In 1979, after the Laetoli footprints were recorded, they were re-buried as a then-novel way of preservation. In 1993, measures were taken to prevent erosion. The original trackway was remolded and new casts were made.
Test your knowledge of prehistoric anthropology with our Laetoli Footprints Quiz! Discover the incredible story of the discovery and preservation of the oldest evidence of hominin bipedalism. Learn about the significance of the Laetoli footprints in the debate on human evolution and the insights they provide into the climate of the time. Challenge yourself with questions on the identity of the Hominina who made the traces, the animal species present, and the measures taken to protect this registered National Historic Site of
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