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bullet 2009-FEB-27: Early footprint found of early human: Scientists at the State University of New Jersey reported finding a 1.5 million year old human-like footprint in rock layers near Ileret in northern Kenya. They are the oldest examples of foot shape that are essentially identical to modern humans. Unlike apes, who share a common ancestor with humans, the large toe in these fossils is parallel to the other toes. Apes have a big toe orientated in a grasping configuration to facilitate climbing trees.

The arch and short toes indicate that the early human that made the footprints walked upright on two feet. From the size, spacing and depth of the impressions, the scientists were able to verify that the early human's weight, stride and gait were within the range of modern humans. They have associated the prints with Homo ergaster, or early Homo erectus as it is more commonly known.

Other hominid fossil footprints were found by Mary Leakey at Tanzania in 1978. They were of a transitional species which exhibited the upright posture of humans but the divergent big toe like an ape. 1
 
bullet 2009-APR-23: Transitional fossil predicted by Darwin found: The fossil of Fuijila darwini, a transitional species, was found in Devon Island in the territory of Nunavut, in Canada's high Arctic. It fills a gap between an earlier land-bound mammal and several pinniped aquatic creatures of today:  seals, sea lions and walruses. Puijila means "young sea mammal" in Inuktitut -- the language of the Inuit. "darwini" is a tribute to Charles Darwin who predicted this type of transitional fossil 150 years ago. The full story is published in the journal Nature for APR-23. The fossil will be on display in the Ottawa Museum of Nature later in April. 2

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "People walked like us 1.5 million years ago, study finds," World Science, 2009-FEB-27, at: http://www.world-science.net/
  2. Steve Rennie, "Fossil shows how seals took to water," Toronto Star, 2009-APR-23, Page A16. Online at: http://www.thestar.com/

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Copyright 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2009-FEB-28
Latest update: 2009-APR-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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