Neanderthal children footprints: In French quarry, largest group of hominin footprints ever found

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One of the Neanderthal footprints discovered at Le Rozel. Image: Dominique Cliquet

They walked and perhaps played along the beach in a prehistoric world; we know this as archaeologists have discovered hundreds of Neanderthal footprints in France— with most of them left by children.

Coastal erosion first exposed Le Rozel in France in 1967 and the site has been excavated every three months since 2012. The discovery of these “extremely rare footprints” is by far the largest group of hominin fossil footprints found to date. And while some of the footprints were found in isolated patches, some were found in a walking sequence, with one footprint after another.

The new paper, published in PNAS by Dr. Jérémy Duveau of the Museum of National History in Paris and colleagues, says that no hominin species other than Neanderthals are known to have been living in the area of Le Rozel at the time. This was supported by the types of stone tools they recovered which according to the paper were “typical of Neanderthals of the time”. The scientists concluded that this particular group contained at least four Neanderthals, but more likely up to 13, to count for all the footprints.

Related article:  Is it time to rethink evolutionary timeline for Earth's animals?

Read full, original post: The Pitter Patter of Tiny Neanderthal Feet Echo Across Time as Footprints Found in France

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