Trachilos footprints

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The Trachilos footprints are tetrapod footprints which show hominin-like characteristics from the late Miocene on the western Crete, close to the village of Trachilos, west of Kissamos, in the Chania Prefecture.[1] Researchers describe the tracks as representing at least one apparent hominin. The stratum in which the footprints were found was dated to about 5.7 million years ago, which predates the previously earliest discovered hominin footprints by about two million years. The tracks indicate that the trackmaker lacked claws, and was bipedal, plantigrade, pentadactyl and strongly entaxonic.[1] The impression of the large and non-divergent first digit (hallux) has a narrow neck and bulbous asymmetrical distal pad. The lateral digit impressions become progressively smaller so that the digital region as a whole is strongly asymmetrical. Morphometric analysis showed the footprints to have outlines that are distinct from modern non-hominin primates and resemble those of hominins.[1]

While younger than fossil records of hominins such as Sahelanthropus, found in Chad and dated around seven million years ago, the discovery potentially challenges the generally accepted theory that all early hominins were only present in Africa. [2][3] The print morphology suggests that the trackmaker was a basal member of the clade Hominini, but as Crete is some distance outside the known geographical range of pre-Pleistocene hominins, researchers say that there is also a possibility that they represent a hitherto unknown late Miocene primate that convergently evolved human-like foot anatomy.[1]

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