The discovery of 5.7 million-year-old human footprints in Crete (Greece), published by the Proceedings of the Geologists Association by an international team of researchers, has made the origins of the human lineage a more complex case than we thought .
Until now, everything indicated that our origins were in Africa since the discovery of Australopithecus fossils in South and East Africa 60 years ago.
Until now it had been established that hominids (early members of the human lineage) only originated in Africa, and remained isolated there for several million years before dispersing to Europe and Asia.
This new discovery of traces of almost six million years in which the University of Uppsala (Sweden) has participated, among others, demolishes this image .
The new tracks from Trachilos , in western Crete, are unmistakably human in shape. At around 5.7 million years old, they are younger than the oldest known fossil hominin, Sahelanthropus from Chad, and contemporary with Orrorin from Kenya, but more than a million years older than Ardipithecus ramidus with their foot-like feet. apes.
During the time when the Trachilos footprints were made, a period known as the late Miocene, the Sahara Desert did not exist. As Per Ahlberg , from Uppsala University, and the last author of the study, explains:
This discovery challenges the established narrative of early human evolution and is likely to generate much debate. Whether the human origin research community will accept fossil footprints as conclusive evidence for the presence of hominins in the Miocene of Crete remains something to be seen.
At that time, Crete had not yet separated from the Greek mainland, so it is not difficult to imagine how the first hominins could have lived through southeastern Europe, leaving their traces in the Mediterranean .