Something or someone supposedly walked across volcanic mud 3.66 million years ago, leaving behind footprints discovered in modern-day Laetoli, Tanzania.1 Many who think modern humans evolved only about two million years ago have resisted interpreting these as human prints, because they are found in sediments that are “too old.”

But a new analysis is again challenging the evolutionary interpretation of these prints. Were the tracks made by man, ape…or something strangely in between?

Repeated examinations of the biomechanics required to make this famous set of tracks have consistently shown that they must have been made by something almost exactly identical to modern human feet. An exhaustive study published in 1990, for example, found the “footprint trails at Laetoli site G resemble those of habitually unshod modern humans.”2 And a 2010 analysis similarly showed that the Laetoli track maker (or makers) “walked with weight transfer most similar to the economical extended limb bipedalism of humans.”3

In a recent study published online in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, researchers compared impressions made by modern man and modern apes with the Laetoli tracks, finding “strong support to those previous studies which have interpreted the G-1 prints as generally modern in aspect.”1 That is, the tracks looked like they were produced by modern human feet. Creation researcher John Mackay said, “If these footprints had been found on a beach today no-one would identify them as anything but human.”4

If the tracks look like they were made by man, and if study after study repeatedly concludes that the tracks are indistinguishable from those of a human, then why are researchers still questioning their origin? The only reason is that these tracks are out of step with the evolutionary story….

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