A new study published in PLOS ONE details the oldest human footprints found outside of Africa. Found and studied by archaeologists from the British Museum, the footprints are estimated to be anywhere from 780,000 to one million years old.
The footprints were discovered pressed into estuary mudflats along the coast of Happisburgh, England, a small village in low-lying Norfolk county. Happisburgh had previously been identified as one of the earliest sites of human activity outside of Africa, when ancient flint tools were discovered there in 2010.
The newly-discovered footprints became visible as a result of coastal erosion, the mudflats revealed, as the beach's sand became washed away by waves and current.
First spotted in May 2013, scientists had to act quickly to document the prints before time and stormy seas washed away human history.