Scientists discover oldest footprints on Earth

16:12, January 08, 2010      

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Scientists have discovered footprints of an ancient vertebrate in Poland. Our ancient ancestors may have begun living on land much earlier than we think.

Footprints of an ancient 2.5 meter-long vertebrate have been discovered by two Polish scientists in a mountain range in southern Poland.

The footprints, which date back 397 million years ago, are 18 million years older than the earliest known examples of fossilized bones of tetrapods vertebrate animals with four feet.

The new evidence is forcing scientists to reconsider a critical period in evolution when sea-based vertebrates took their first steps toward becoming dinosaurs, mammals, and - eventually - human beings..

Grzegorz Pienkowski, Deputy Director, Polish Gelogical Institute, said, "This discovery contradicts all accepted theories concerning one of the most important events in evolution. In short, that it started much earlier, in a different way and that it occurred in a different location from where we once thought."

One of a number of fossil footprints that Polish researchers found in a milestone discovery in south central Poland and had dated some 397 million years back, at the Geology Institute in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The footprints show the creatures left them tramped through mud in what was at the time an intertidal marine lagoon.

Source: CCTV. com

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