Human Footprints: Fossilised Locomotion?
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Human footprints provide some of the most emotive and tangible evidence of our ancestors. They provide evidence of stature, presence, behaviour and in the case of early hominin footprints, evidence with respect to the evolution of human gait and foot anatomy. While human footprint sites are rare in the geological record the number of sites around the World has increased in recent years, along with the analytical tools available for their study. The aim of this book is to provide a definitive review of these recent developments with specific reference to the increased availability of three-dimensional digital elevation models of human tracks at many key sites. The book is divided into eight chapters. Following an introduction the second chapter reviews modern field methods in human ichnology focusing on the development of new analytical tools. The third chapter then reviews the major footprint sites around the World including details on several unpublished examples. Chapters then follow on the role of geology in the formation and preservation of tracks, on the inferences that can be made from human tracks and the final chapter explores the application of this work to forensic science.
This volume will be of interest to researchers and students across a wide range of disciplines – sedimentology, archaeology, forensics and palaeoanthropology.
similar pathologies are confirmed however by the authors own observations at the site. A full review of the site and the palaeoenvironmental context can be obtained from Huddart et al. (1999a, b) and Gonzalez and Huddart (2002). Despite reservations about the sophistication with which the tracks have been investigated in the past, what is clear is that they are numerous and the site still provides a potentially large track resource. Despite the best efforts of the amateur enthusiast Gordon
of modern emu tracks as analogues for dinosaur trackways. Scott et al. (2010) recognised not only the importance of moisture but also clay mineralogy and a site’s overall geohydrology in determining the role of salt growth both in track formation and their subsequent taphonomy. These observations and the modelling work all suggests that vertical stratigraphy may also be of crucial importance in determining a track’s topology (Allen 1997; Manning 2004; Falkingham et al. 2011). With the exception
track-makers. It is also worth pointing out that the recognition of specific pathologies and/or conditions (e.g., diabetic feet, pregnancy) has been claimed by some footprint observers (e.g., Roberts et al. 1996), but in truth there is no real data to support such inferences. Tuttle (1987) discusses a range of possible pathological explanations for the bilateral asymmetry in foot angles of the G-1 Laetoli trackway and within the animal track literature there are examples where ‘limping’ has been
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