A team of archaeologists has discovered a crucial clue to human ancestry in a set of 800,000-year-old footprints left in a beachside sediment bed in England. The prints offer an important look into early human habitation in northern Europe, with height estimates suggesting the prints were left by a shorter, smaller-brained human ancestor known as Homo Antecessor. The footprints are the oldest ever discovered outside of Africa, where similar prints in Lake Tanzania have been dated back as far as 3.7 million years.
The site was discovered in Haisborough, Norfolk, an eastern shore where the receding coastline has unearthed many previously buried relics. In this case, a sudden storm washed away enough of the beach to reveal a rocky surface below, where the footprints were discovered and photographed. See more about the find in the video below, produced by the British Museum.