Laetoli, Tanzania. 3.66 million years (Ma).
- Site G, found in 1978: 70 footprints made by three Australopithecus afarensis. Along with footprints were hominin and animal remains and Acheulean objects. The footprints are normally buried to protect them against the elements.
- Site S (150 m away from Site G), found in 2015: 14 footprints made by two Australopithecus afarensis walking in the same time frame, in the same direction and at a similar moderate speed as the other three. One of them (hominin S1) had an average stature between 161-168 cm.
Ileret, Kenya. 1.5 Ma. They are 97 footprints left by at least 20 Homo erectus individuals, who had a modern foot and stride: a mid-foot arch, straight big toe and heel-to-toe weight transfer. The footprints are indistinguishable from our own.
AFRICA (made by Homo sapiens)
Langebaan Lagoon, South Africa. 117 thousand years (ka). Called Eve’s footprint, because they are the oldest known footprints of an anatomically-modern human. The trackway of three footprints was found in 1995 on the surface of a cemented sand dune (called an aeolianite), plus other two tracks in 2018. This is a very relevant find, considering that less than 40 hominin fossils from the period 100 to 200 ka have been found in Africa.
Happisburgh in Norfolk, UK. 850 ka. Assigned by many authors to Homo antecessor. Previously, the record for the oldest set of footprints in Britain was 7,500 years old, which pales in comparison to the Norfolk find.
Roccamonfina volcano, Italy. 350 ka. They were the oldest footprints in Europe before the Norfolk find. Called the «devil’s trails», they are preserved in volcanic ash atop the volcano. Assigned to Homo heildelbergensis.
EUROPE (made by Homo sapiens)
Theopetra cave, Greece. Four human footprints preserved in a reddish clay sediment, in association with various posterior hearths along the same layer which are dated to 46,327 BP.
Ciur-Izbuc Cave, Romania. 36,500 years. More than 400 footprints!
White Sands National Park, New Mexico, USA. A group of ~60 footprints radiocarbon-dated to 21,000-23,000 years old. Based on stature and walking speed, it appears that most of the footprints in this study come from teenagers and children.
With 80,000 hectares, White Sands holds the world’s largest known collection of fossilized footprints from the Pleistocene, found around a dry lakebed with tracks from many fauna species. Another footprint track dated to 10,000-14,500 years (estimated overlap between megafauna extinction and known human presence in the area) is the longest trackway of fossil footprints in the world (at least 1,5 km). This was a very straight course: the individual did not deviate from it, and followed the trackway back again a few hours later.
Pilauco, Chile. Dated to 15,600 years, and associated with megafauna bones, plant material and unifacial lithic tools. This site might represent further evidence for a pre-Clovis South American colonization of northern Patagonia, as proposed for the nearby Monte Verde site. Monte Verde is a 12,5 ka open-air site with remains of a small settlement of 20-30 people where a small child also left a footprint.
Calvert Island, British Columbia, Canada. 29 footprints along the shoreline of Calvert Island published in 2015. They are believed to be of a man, woman and child. At the base of the footprint track, pieces of preserved wood were radiocarbon dated to c. 13,000 years.
Chihuahuan desert, Mexico. 10,550 years. 2 footprints, left and right. At the same site there are 11 other footprints dated to 7,250 years.
Lake Managua, Nicaragua. 6,000 years.
Willandra Lakes, New South Wales. 20,000 years.
Margalla Hills, Pakistan. 2 footprints made by Homo erectus 1 million years ago.
ASIA (made by Homo sapiens)
Nefud, Desert, Saudi Arabia. 112,000-121,000 years. 7 human footprints that represent the oldest evidence of Homo sapiens presence in the region.
Jeju Island, Korea. More than 100 human footprints and other thousands of horse, elephant, bird and deer fossil tracks left 50,000 years ago. Further studies suggest a more recent dating of between 19-25 ka.