Sep 2017 - The discovery of 5.7 million year old hominid footprints on the island of Crete challenges the human evolution out of Africa?


Lighting the Way to Reality: No it doesn't. Why should it? https

No it doesn't. Why should it? There were several branches of early hominins, some of them having nothing to do with human ancestry. There were times when the Mediterranean had mostly dried up so there would not have been much of problem for animals to get to Crete by land. The fossil record fully supports the out of Africa understanding of human evolution.


The find is certainly very interesting, but it's anomalous nature means it is to be treated cautiously. We know hominins were active in Greece 7 million years ago so the idea of them being active outside Africa isn't shocking. After all, the ancestors of both ourselves and the Orangutans had freely spread across Asia millions of years before that. Of course back then much of North Africa was lush tropics and grasslands, not a desert. The Mediterranean Sea had yet to form so for enterprising apes there was no absolute barrier to contain them in the continent. To think that there would be is something of a modern bias. However Africa was still their ideal habitat. The barriers they did face beyond were the harsher climates waiting for them in Northern latitudes. Unlike us they didn't have heating and clothes to protect them from chills so any climate that got close to freezing would have been too hostile. The lower parts of Europe were probably their limit. The interesting element is the bipedalism - or at least partial bipedalism. The feet of these Hominis appear better matches for our own than some of the contemporary Australopithecus species' whom we have so far regarded as direct ancestors. That at least may need to be rethought. The same species that made the tracks in Crete would also have been active in Africa but their remains have not been found. The question it would be useful to know is if Crete were a northern frontier habitat for this species, or part of it's normal range? That could determine the difference between them being ancestors or just another of the many cousins roaming the Miocene jungles.


Prove "5.7 million years". Prove "hominid". You'll believe anything.


Hominid simply means a member of the family of primates the include modern humans, but also many extinct species of members that are both direct decedents of Homo sapiens sapiens and other failed branches of the same evolutionary tree, for example Neanderthals, who are not evolutionary ancestors but share ancestors with modern humans. The discovery does nothing to disprove African evolution of modern humans.


We are in Crete and they know nothing about that

Handsome Devil

I'm sure you had a point in mind when you posted that non-question. I just don't know what it was.


Not really. 1) it's not Homo sapiens or any species more modern than an Australopithecus (too old, and there are older in Africa). 2) Nobody accepts the paper's argument that it's definitely a hominid, or definitely an ancestor of our lineage. We're not even sure it's definitely a footprint. There was a biped ape called an Oreopithecus that lived In Italy/Greece 7mya whose branch died out that seems like the obvious candidate to make these footprints, if genuine.

Gray Bold

I don't think it challenges it. But it may add to it if the date is correct. The Laetoli footprints in Tanzania date back to 3.7 million years ago, so an older date is not out of the question. We have no idea how many ancient hominid species existed. We only found out about the Denisovans back in 2010.


It doesn't challenge any well-known fact about the history of Miocene Hominids. 12 to 6 million years ago, Ponginae was a diverse family of Eurasian hominids. Among a dozen species, there were for example Sivapithecus in India, Ouranopithecus in Greece and Turkey ... And even Hispanopithecus as far as Spain! Nowadays, the only one extant species are 3 species of orangutans. So it's safe to speculate the Hominids in Crete were Ponginae apes probably related to their mainland cousins Ankarapithecus and Ouranopithecus. Everybody knows The earliest known out-of-Africa hominids (not human!) were the orangutan ancestors.

Marie And Alan

We are in Crete and they know nothing about that

Dave D

Not really. There were many other groups of hominids which became extinct.


Does it? Wasn't Crete part of Africa back then? And what if it does? So what? The origin of man will be shifted slightly.

Christian sinner

Maybe. I am not an expert like these other answerers are. But I did learn the Mediterranean was not water until the oceans began to rise after the last Great Ice Age ended. So those hominids were likely crossing land, although it was supposed to be a caustic desert.

David at Your Service

You obviously don't understand how evolutionism works. It's set up to be unchallengeable. 5.7 million years? Big whoop. They sometimes find human artifacts in coal seams supposedly hundreds of millions of years old, but because they contradict the failed theory, they are ignored as "anomalies".