Laetoli Footprints In The News

Live Science has an interesting report on a new look at the Laetoli footprint trails. As mentioned here and here the famous footprint trails are in trouble due to erosion. Plans are to build a museum on the site to preserve them. Live Science takes it from there:

In February 2011, however, a section of the track area was re-excavated for evaluation as a future museum site. Using a photographic technique that provides high-resolution three-dimensional views of the footprints, Matthews, Breithaupt and Charles Musiba, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado at Denver, and their colleagues from the U.S., Tanzania, Korea and Spain were able to get a new view of the footprints. The research was funded by Tanzania’s Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources.

This resulted in a presentation at this year’s annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists. The gist of the presentation is that (again from Live Science):

The multiple-footprint impressions appear to contain not two sets of toe-prints, but three, Breithaupt said. And all of the individuals who walked through the plain had the same-sized feet.

“So instead of having three individuals of different sizes, with the sizes related to different ages, there are probably four individuals of the same size moving through this area, perhaps not traveling as a group,” Breithaupt told LiveScience.

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