World’s oldest footprints found in China

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Scientists in China have discovered what they claim are the oldest fossilised animal footprints ever found.

The parallel tracks were formed in mud up to 551 million years ago. The footprints were found in southern China’s Yangtze Gorges.

Asked how the teams knew the impressions were footprints, Dr Shuhai Xiao of Virginia Tech said that “if an animal makes footprints, the footprints are depressions on the sediment surface. These depressions are then filled with sediments from the overlying layer.”

Previously, no evidence of limbed animals had been discovered that old.

The footprints appear to be irregular and disorganised, suggesting it was somewhat clumsy.

The new find does not however provide scientists with enough information to determine what kind of animal the footprints belonged to.

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