Tags: little foot | fossil | south africa | mankind

'Little Foot' Fossil: New Dating Bolsters SAfrica's Claims as Mankind Hub

By    |   Friday, 03 Apr 2015 01:04 PM

The "Little Foot" fossil, a hominid skeleton found in South Africa in 1994, has been re-dated thanks to new technology that suggests it may be way older than previously thought.

The new research into the Little Foot skeleton, which was featured Wednesday in the science journal Nature, suggests that it is 3.67 million years old, giving "Lucy" — the Ethiopian hominid skeleton thought to be the hub of mankind — a run for her money, according to National Geographic.

Ron Clarke, of the University of the Witwaterand, in Johannesburg, said dating Little Foot back to that period of time puts South Africa in play as the potential location of Earth's earliest stages of human evolution. According to NatGeo, volcanic ash layers made it easy to calculate the time lines of species in East Africa and their evolution.

"People have said South Africa has good fossils, but we don't know how old they are," Clark said. "Now we're beginning to understand their age. That changes things dramatically."

The bone dating was led by Darryl Granger, a professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences at Purdue University, in collaboration with Ryan Gibbon, a former postdoctoral researcher. They used a technique called isochron burial dating, which uses radioisotopes within several rock samples surrounding a fossil to date when the rocks and the fossil were first buried underground, according to a statement by the university.

The dating method, originally intended to analyze solar wind samples from NASA's Genesis mission, has a relatively small margin of error of 160,000 years for Little Foot, Granger said.

"If we had only one sample and that rock happened to have been buried, then re-exposed and buried again, the date would be off because the amount of radioisotopes would have increased during its second exposure," he said in the university statement.

"With this method we can tell if that has happened or if the sample has remained undisturbed since burial with the fossil. It is expensive and a lot of work to take and run multiple samples, but I think this is the future of burial dating because of the confidence one can have in the results."

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
The "Little Foot" fossil, a hominid skeleton found in South Africa in 1994, has been re-dated thanks to new technology that suggests it may be way older than previously thought.
little foot, fossil, south africa, mankind
358
2015-04-03
Friday, 03 Apr 2015 01:04 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved