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They are the oldest known hominid footprints outside Africa.

The footprints were discovered in May 2013 by Nicholas Ashton, curator at the British Museum, and Martin Bates from Trinity St David's University, who were carrying out research as part of the Pathways to Ancient Britain (PAB) project.

The images were analysed by Isabelle De Groote of Liverpool John Moores University, who was able to confirm that the hollows in the sediment were hominin footprints.

The footprints measured between 140 and 260 millimetres (5.5 and 10.2 in), thought to equate to heights between 0.9 and 1.7 metres (2 ft 11 in and 5 ft 7 in).

It is believed that the individuals who made them were from the species Homo antecessor, Analysis shows that the group of perhaps five individuals were walking in a southerly direction (upstream) along mudflats in the estuary of an early path of the River Thames that flowed into the sea farther north than it does today when south-east Britain was joined to the European continent.

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On this basis, two possible dates for the deposition of the sediments that the footprints were found in have been suggested, either c. 950,000 years ago, but further research is necessary to determine which is correct.

Last modified 16-May-2018 01:55