Human footprints provide some of the most emotive and tangible evidence of our ancestors. They provide evidence of stature, presence, behaviour and in the case of early hominin footprints, evidence with respect to the evolution of human gait and foot anatomy. While human footprint sites are rare in the geological record the number of sites around the World has increased in recent years, along with the analytical tools available for their study. The aim of this book is to provide a definitive review of these recent developments with specific reference to the increased availability of three-dimensional digital elevation models of human tracks at many key sites. The book is divided into eight chapters. Following an introduction the second chapter reviews modern field methods in human ichnology focusing on the development of new analytical tools. The third chapter then reviews the major footprint sites around the World including details on several unpublished examples. Chapters then follow on the role of geology in the formation and preservation of tracks, on the inferences that can be made from human tracks and the final chapter explores the application of this work to forensic science.
This volume will be of interest to researchers and students across a wide range of disciplines - sedimentology, archaeology, forensics and palaeoanthropology.
1. Fossilised locomotion1.1 Human tracks1.2 Key concepts and definitions1.3 Models of footprint formation1.4 Footprint resources1.5 Summary2. Modern methods of data capture2.1 Geo-prospection and excavation2.2 Recognising human tracks2.3 Dating human tracks2.4 Methods of digital data capture2.5 Data manipulation2.6 Basic measurements: tracks and trackways2.7 Advanced measurements: tracks and trackways2.8 Summary3. World review of human track sites3.1 Pliocene to Early/Middle Pleistocene tracksites3.2 Late Pleistocene to Holocene tracksites3.3 Summary4. Geoconservation of human tracks4.1 Geoconservation4.2 Placing value on human tracksites4.3 Conservation risks: threats and challenges4.4 Conservation options4.5 Summary5. The role of substrate in track formation and topology5.1 Substrate controls: introduction5.2 Models of human track formation5.3 Substrate controls5.4 Track taphonomy5.5 Summary6. Inferences from human tracks6.1 The limits of inference6.2 Inferring body dimensions6.3 Inferring age6.4 Fossilised locomotion? Inferences on speed and gait6.5 Evolution and foot function6.6 Summary7. Forensic applications7.1 Crime scenes7.2 Methods for collecting footwear evidence7.3 How unique is a footprint?7.4 Profiling a suspect7.5 Summary8. Conclusions8.1 Future research perspectivesGlossaryAppendixGeographical Index