Possible shod-hominin tracks on South Africa’s Cape coast
AbstractWhen and where did humans first fashion footwear? Ichnology holds the potential to answer this unresolved question in palaeoanthropology. The global record of sites from which shod-hominin tracks have been considered is sparse. Consideration of proxies for footwear use, in conjunction with areas of known Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic hominin tracksites, suggests two suitable regions in which to search for shod-hominin tracks of this age: southern Africa and Western Europe. Inhabitants of these areas in the Middle Stone Age would have had the means, motive and opportunity to fashion footwear. Ichnological evidence from three palaeosurfaces on South Africa?s Cape coast, in conjunction with neoichnological study, suggests that humans may indeed have worn footwear while traversing dune surfaces during the Middle Stone Age. The hominin track record may be biased towards identification of tracks made by barefoot individuals, therefore the development of criteria for the identification of shod-hominin tracks should aid in future interpretation efforts.