Scientists discovered the oldest human footprints ever found in Germany, estimated to be over 300,000.
Experts believe that the prints, which are in perfect condition, were left behind by a family Heidelberg people. This is a species of long-extinct human.
Footprints have been found in the Harz Mountains at the Schoningen Paleolithic Site.
The site also contained ancient animal prints and the first evidence for elephants in this region.
Heidelberg, also known as Homo heidelbergensis was the first human known to have built homes and hunted large animals.
From approximately 700,000 to 200,000 years ago they were found in Africa and Western Eurasia.
Scientists from the University of Tubingen, Germany, and other international researchers made this discovery.
The study’s lead author, Dr Flavio Alamura, stated: “For the very first time, our team conducted a thorough investigation of fossil footprints at two sites in Schoningen.
The oldest tracks in Germany are those of Homo heidelbergensis, and they date back to about 300,000-years.
Based on the tracks of both children and adolescents, it was likely a family hunt rather than an adult hunting group.
Dr Altamura stated that the findings confirm the fact that the extinct species of human “inhabited lake or river banks with shallow water”.
Around the lake, he said, “Depending on the seasons, there were plants, fruits and leaves. There were also mushrooms.
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The team also analysed tracks that were thought to belong to Palaeoloxodon Antiquus, a species of extinct elephant and the largest animal on land of the time.
Adult bulls can weigh up to 12 tonnes and had straight-tusked creatures.
In 2014, evidence of more than 800 000 year old human footprints was found on the Norfolk Coast.