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Tanzania mulls displaying newly discovered human footprints in museums

Editor: zhangrui 丨Xinhua

04-18-2017 07:39 BJT

ARUSHA, Tanzania, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is set to start displaying the early human footprints, which were recently discovered at Laetoli area in Ngorongoro Conservation Area for public consumption, an archaeologist said on Monday.

Fidelis Masao, an archaeologist from the long-time Tanzania's University of Dar es Salaam said that the process of displaying the footprints in a museum for public consumption will start in August, this year.

The discovery in 2015 by Tanzanian and Italian archaeologists came during the systematic survey and excavation activities led by Ngorongoro-based Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (CHIA) aimed at evaluating the effect of a proposed new field museum in the area that lies on the southern edge of Serengeti National Park.

"We are currently in discussions with the Italian Embassy in Tanzania on better ways of making the human footprints available for public viewing," Masao said in a telephone interview.

The discovered these footprints at Laetoli took place 40 years later in the same area where the legendary Mary Leakey and her team of researchers discovered in the late 1970s a trackway 3.6 million years ago commonly attributed to Australopithecus afarensis.

The research that led to the new discovery is supported by the Italian School of Palaeoanthropology under the auspices of the Italian ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation in collaboration with University of Dar es Salaam's College of humanities.

This is likely to boost Tanzania's archaeological and tourism fortunes which have been on the increase for years.

Footprints are rare they can be impressed in the ground, preserved over time and eventually discovered millions of years later only because of unique circumstances.

Like a spotlight on a prehistoric scene, fossil tracks provide data about the locomotion biomechanics and body size of the extinct creatures and reveal the diversity among individuals explains even their reproductive strategies.

The evidence taken as a whole with the previous one portrays several bipedal early hominins moving as a group through the landscape, after a volcanic eruption and a subsequent rainfall.

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