Follow the Footsteps

Footprints are a kind of evidence of behavior often called a 'trace fossil' - geological evidence of biological activity. This is in contrast to 'body fossils', fossilized remains from organisms' bodies.

Scientists can learn a lot from sites where human footprints have been found, including:

  • estimates of height, weight, and gait of the humans who made the footprints - which also tells us how many people made the footprints
  • features of the substrate that the footprints were formed in (was it soft? hard? wet? dry?)
  • aspects of the environment that the humans who made the footprints were living in, especially if there are footprints left by other animals

Several human footprints sites have been discovered; you can explore the evidence from some of them here.