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New, well-preserved footprints in Kenya

Research Achievements

New, well-preserved footprints in Kenya

In 2009, Richmond and colleagues discovered new, particularly well-preserved footprints of our early ancestors in 1.5 million year-old sediments in northwestern Kenya. This added important new evidence for the anatomy and function of the foot in our early human ancestors and relatives, and build on their work published on the cover of Science (2009, Vol. 323:1197-1201, and featured as the cover article along with a Perspective in Science (2009, Vol. 323: 1174-1175). They used laser scanning technology to digitally record the prints, and 3D shape analysis (geometric morphometrics) to show that these footprints represent the oldest definitive evidence of an essentially modern style of walking in early human ancestors, most likely early Homo erectus. Over 170 major international and US media outlets picked up this story, including reports from the New York Times, Reuters, Associated Press, MSNBC, National Geographic, and United Press International.