At Laetoli, Tanzania, are the preserved remains of 3.6 million-years-old footprints, among the earliest evidence of hominid bipedalism. Known as the Laetoli footprints, the 80 foot trackway was made by two or three people walking side by side, possibly holding hands.
The footprints appear to tell a story. Halfway along, the footprints stop, turn, then turn again, then continue.
Paleoanthropologists have long speculated as to what these two or three Australopitheca afarensis were doing. Why do they stop and turn? Is someone calling them? Or are they perhaps looking to the horizon where the Sadiman volcano is erupting, spewing the volcanic ash which is to preserve their footprints until 1978 when they will finally be discovered by paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey? And why do they step into each other's footprints now and then?
Archeologists were similarly baffled by the 2013 discovery of 800,000 year-old hominid footprints in Happisburg, Norfolk, England, the oldest ever found outside of Africa. The footprints were left by half a dozen people in an area about 40 square feet, and appear too ordered to have been produced by beachcombing or samphire picking, yet not quite linear enough to be walking in a straight line either. Just as at Laetoli, the hominids (in this case Homo antecessor) sometimes step into each other's footprints. Common to both sets of footprints is a sway in the walk: a leisurely stroll interspersed with rapid movements. The Laetoli and Happisburg footprints have baffled paleoanthropologists but I am happy to announce a major breakthrough. Having mapped the footprints using photogrammetry, I compared the trackways with all known footprints patterns by running a supercomputer algorithm.
This yielded astonishing results...
The Laeotoli footprints exactly match the dance steps of the rhumba, and the Happisburg footsteps those of the mambo - with a hint of cockney square dance Lambeth Walk thrown in at the end.
I have submitted an article to the science journal Nature, arguing that:
- Musical diferences may have led tribes out of East Africa, as mambo-enthusiats crossed land bridge to European littoral , while rhumba devotess consolidate settlements around Olduvai Gorge.
- If not the first homind to walk upright, Australopitheca afaranesis was certainly the first to sashay.
- Humans may, in fact, have been mincing millions of years ago.
- We may be descended from cockneys, who lived around the alluvian delta of what is now Lambeth.