3.75 Million Years Old Laetoli Footprints – Who Made Them?

One of the most startling discoveries considered by evolutionists to prove the theory of human evolution is the discovery in 1978 of a 75′ long trail of crisp footprints.

The prints were discovered in a layer of volcanic ash that was conventionally dated at 3.75 million years old and considered to have been produced by a human ancestor. The discovery was significant since it coincided with the discovery of the australopithecine “Lucy” in 1974.

The prints were found and defended by Mary Leakey (who died December 9, 1996, at the age of 83), Matriarch of the famous fossil hunting Leakey family, whose finds were widely publicized and financed by National Geographic Magazine.

Mary Leakey was a hard worker whose thorough study is among the least contentious in a brutal, ego-laden, funding-driven field of “one-upmanship.”

In terms of the footprints, her evidence is uncontested, but the interpretation of the data demonstrates the lengths evolutionists will go to avoid calling into doubt man’s ostensibly evolutionary ancestry.

The prints are very human-like, “indistinguishable from those of modern humans” (Anderson, New Scientist 98:373, 1983).

After careful examination, it was determined that the footprints “resemble those of regularly unshod modern humans…. If the tracks had not been so old, we would have assumed they were created by a member of our genus” (Tuttle, Natural History March 1990).

Because of the dates, the prints have been attributed to Australopithecus afarensis, also known as Lucy’s genus. But is this true? Lucy was basically a chimp. Even Lucy’s discoverer, Donald Johansson, only claims that she was a chimp who moved a little more upright than other chimps.

The Australopithecus foot was an ape’s foot, with an opposing thumb and long curled toes ideal for tree climbing, but it was nothing like a human’s foot. In a 1996 interview, researcher Dr. Charles Oxnard stated:

“When you study (Australopithecus foot bones) more attentively, especially when you use computer multivariate statistical studies that allow you to assess areas that the eye cannot easily detect, it emerges out that the big toe was divergent.”

Why do evolutionists insist that the Laetoli human-like footprints were created by a chimp-like Lucy and that both reflect our ancestors? It’s not for scientific reasons, for sure. The desire to show man’s animal ancestry is admirable since it releases one from accountability to a creator-God.

As a result, we might conclude that creationists, not evolutionists, are empirical scientists. A human footprint can only be created by a human foot!

My evolutionary colleagues could learn a thing or two from Mary Leakey. While she was a firm believer in man’s derivation from the apes, she had a more cautious approach to scientific findings and, in particular, speculative thought. In an Associated Press interview three months before her death, she “agreed that science would never be able to identify precisely when prehistoric man became fully human.”

“We will almost certainly never know where humans began and hominids left off,” she said. Because scientists can never verify a specific scenario of human evolution, Leakey stated that “all these trees of life with their branches of our forebears, it’s a bunch of nonsense.”

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