Ancient Human Footprints Look Modern
by Brian Thomas, M.S.*
Some scientists have estimated that sets of human footprints found on two separate but close sedimentary layers in Kenya are around 1.51 and 1.53 million years old1 and were made by humans like the “Turkana Boy,” an anatomically human fossil discovered within the same general area in 1984.2 But do these footprints clarify or confound the standard evolutionary explanations?
The obvious “humanness” of these footprints highlights the fact that clear distinctions exist between humans and other creatures. LiveScience reported that these prints have “modern foot features such as a rounded heel, a human-like arch and a big toe that sits parallel to other toes…By contrast, apes have more curved fingers and toes made for grasping tree branches.”2 For example, despite museum depictions of the extinct ape Australopithecus having fully human feet, fossils show that they had typical ape feet.3
The LiveScience article also noted that “modern feet mark just one of several dramatic shifts in early humans.”2 What is not mentioned is that the evolutionary “shifts” are not recorded in these footprints or any other fossils. Either the shifts were too “dramatic” in speed to have left any evidence, or they never occurred. Judging strictly by the fossil record, it is as if apes and humans never changed from one to the other, but instead retained the stable basic forms from their beginnings. Anthropologist John Harris of Rutgers University remarked after considering the creatures that left these tracks, “We’re seeing a very different hominid at this stage.”2 Indeed, the human form is “very different” from apes and always has been.4
1 Bennett, M. R., et al. 2009. Early Hominin Foot Morphology Based on 1.5-Million-Year-Old Footprints from Ileret, Kenya. Science. 323 (5918): 1197-1201.
2 Hsu, J., The Shoe Fits! 1.5 Million-Year-Old Human Footprints Found. LiveScience. Posted on livescience.com on February 26, 2009, accessed February 27, 2009.
3 Wong, K., August 1, 2005. Footprints to Fill: Flat feet and doubts about makers of the Laetoli tracks. Scientific American, 18-19.
4 Morris, J. 1995. What Distinguishes Man from Ape? Acts & Facts. 24 (11).