Human Origin: The ‘6 Million Year Old’ Trachilos Footprint that challenges existing beliefs

Coincidentally, footprints found on an island in Greece have been claimed to be the oldest of the human footprints ever found.

The findings on the island of Crete have raised interesting questions and new controversies about human origin.

The doves, known as the Trachealus footprint, were discovered in 2002 by a Polish paleontologist.

A new study claims that these signs are the oldest evidence of that kind of ancestry of modern mankind.

Research by an international group published in the Scientific Reporter Journal on October 10 also challenges the widely accepted theory that the ancestors of modern mankind first appeared in Africa.

Mankind outside Africa
Most paleontologists believe that the origin of mankind is Africa.

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According to this theory, mankind originated in Africa 2 million years ago before migrating to other parts of the world.

But a group of researchers led by Swedish scholar Par Alberg has challenged that chronology of human origin. He claims that the footprint of Trachilos is 6 million years old.

Many prehistoric fossils have been found in Africa since the 1920’s
Image source, GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
Many prehistoric fossils have been found in Africa since the 1920’s

Footprints of the rising mankind were discovered in Tanzania in 1976. He is considered to be the oldest footprint of mankind.

But recent studies indicate that the footprints found in Greece are much older.

Explorations in Africa are considered important to eradicate the family lineage of mankind.

In addition to human footprints, prehistoric fossils have been found in Africa over the past 100 years. The hollow of Sahil anthropus, the oldest species of hominin prehistoric, has been found in Africa 7 million years ago.

However, fossils of such fossils are rare in Europe compared to Africa.

Who left a footprint on Crete?
Per Alverg’s group published the first research on the Trachealus footprint in 2017. But this month’s geological analysis confirms that the date is even older. Formerly known as 5.7 million years old, these doves are now claimed to be 6 million five thousand years old.

In the original research, Alverg’s group noted that the distance between the big toe and other toes of the proto-human footprint was shorter than that of chimpanzees and gorillas of the Narvanar species.

“The footprints of non-human species are very different. Their legs are very similar to human hands. The big toe is slightly back and sticking to the side,” he told the BBC.

Footprints found in Tanzania in 1976
Image source, GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
The footprints found in Tanzania in 1976 are considered to be the oldest evidence of human footprints.

“Compared to others, the big toes of our feet are in a wave of long toes, not protruding from one side.”

But other paleontologists are skeptical of the study’s findings.

Critics have questioned the method used in the analysis of symbols, while others have differed on whether they are actual footprints.

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Matthew Bennett, a senior pedagogical professor at Burnham University in the UK, was also involved in the study of signs found in Greece. He said he was aware of his assessment.

“These are very interesting fossil footprints. Some may be amphibians and some may be monkeys,” Bennett told the BBC.

“If these belong to the human race, then there is another story.”

Trachealus footprint
Image source, PER AHLBERG
Image caption,
Who made this dove in Crete?

To understand Bennett’s dilemma, we need to remember that no human fossils have been found in Europe.

The timing of human development is not a simple matter.

According to paleontologists, mammals, such as orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and humans, originated and diversified during the Middle Ages, between 23 million and 5 million years ago.

But there is still no consensus on when mankind became different from them.

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Scientists have found evidence that large non-humans, other than humans, existed in Europe. Robin Cromton, an anthropologist and biologist at the University of Liverpool in the UK, suggests that the footprints found on the island of Crete may be the same.

“Those doves are undoubtedly prehistoric and this is certainly encouraging. However, there is a big question mark that can only be addressed by further research and discovery.”

In other words, more bones and footprints should be found elsewhere in Europe.

How important are the tracheal footprints
Alvarg admits that there is no question that the modern human species, now called Homo sapiens, first appeared in Africa three million years ago.

But his interest is even earlier in our history.

“About Homo sapiens Organized records are available. But the question here is whether the earlier human species originated in Africa, “he said.

The lower extremities of Grecopithecus
Image caption,
German scientist Madeleine Bohm’s team announced in 2017 that they had found evidence of a species that was related to a human called Grecopithecus, who lived in Europe 7 million years ago.

“Of course not. Because our research shows that human ancestors also migrated to southern Europe and East Africa.”

Alberg does not believe that the human race originated outside of Africa.

But he says our ancestors may have reached Europe outside of Africa much earlier than we thought.

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“What we’ve all been saying is that the area where these human species migrate may be larger than people think,” he claims.

Madeleine Bom, a paleontologist working at the University of Tङ्गbingen in Germany, came into the limelight in 2017, the year the first research on the Trachilos footprint was published.

She declared that the closest common ancestor between humans and chimpanzees was found in Europe, not Africa.

A group of researchers, including him, claimed that Grecopithecus, older than Sahel anthropus, the earliest known human ancestor to walk, was between 7 and 7.2 million years ago in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe.

Remains of Grecopithecus are still found near the Greek island of Crete.

“Our research does not challenge the 5 million-year-old human development process, but it does speak to the time before that,” says Bom.

Suspicion and science
The controversy created by the Trachilos footprint also raises questions about how scientists cope with older concepts.

Although he disagreed with the Trachealus footprint, researcher Robin Cromton said that his colleagues’ direct denial that it was a footprint of a prehistoric species would not help the study of human origins.

Image source, GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
The mystery of human evolution and the division of the human species still remains

“It’s not just about refuting quantities, it’s about research. Scientists need to be prepared for that,” he says.

Madeleine Bom agrees. She says that the theory of the origin of the human race has changed dramatically.

The “Africa doctrine” based on the remains of a child called the Tung Child, which is said to have existed 2.8 million years ago when it was discovered in South Africa in 1924, was not universally accepted for some time.

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“There was a time in history when mankind originated not only in Africa but in different parts of the world,” says Bom.

According to him, science without suspicion is not considered good. “People should always be ready for arguments. Yes, we still need to do investigations, but it is completely different for colleagues to simply refute our investigations.”

But Alberg is also dissatisfied with his colleagues’ attempts to dismiss his findings as “unusual.”

“Now I don’t care what the community of paleontologists says. We’ve presented the evidence and we’ve raised our point. It’s frustrating to fight people’s distrust,” he added.

Tongue child
Image source, GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
The origin of mankind in Africa is based on the skull of a child found in Africa nearly 100 years ago.

Trachealus footprint has also aroused curiosity in people outside the scientific community.

In 2017, just a few weeks after the announcement of the Trekilos footprint, eight such footprints were dug out of the rock and stolen.

Greek police arrested a local schoolteacher and recovered the fossils.

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