Oldest footprints outside of Africa discovered in Britain

British researchers have discovered the oldest footprints outside of Africa. (YouTube screengrab)

British researchers have discovered the oldest footprints outside of Africa. (YouTube screengrab)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

British researchers have discovered the oldest footprints outside of Africa on a beach in eastern England.

Nicholas Ashton, curator of the British Museum, said researchers were about to begin a geophysics survey in Happisburgh, located 225 km northeast of London, in May 2013 when Martin Bates of Trinity St. David's University spotted an unusual surface.

"High seas had removed most of the beach sand to reveal ancient estuary mud. We'd seen these many times before and had been digging them for years. Normally they consist of flat laminated silts, but in a small area of about 12 square metres there was a jumble of elongated hollows. Martin pointed them out and said that they looked like footprints," Ashton wrote on the museum's blog.

Photos were taken of the imprints and Ashton said they were able to distinguish heels, arches and even toes. He said the footprints were from five individuals, both adults and children.


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