Little Foot Coexisted With Homo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 9th, 2006

Little Foot Apeman

The remains of the apeman, dubbed Little Foot, were discovered in a cave complex at Sterkfontein by a local South African team in 1997. Its bones preserved in sediment layers, it is the most complete hominid fossil skeleton ever found.
(Photo Credit: Alf Latham and used with his permission)

Redating news published today calls for a younger age for the unknown species of Australopithecus popularly called "Little Foot," or technically "Stw 573."

Initially, the species had been tentatively dated to three to four million years before present, but the new findings show the small upright Australopithecus died only about 2.2 million years ago.

Why is this important? Articles about it are appearing with the headline that says it all: "Ancient Ape Ruled Out Of Man’s Ancestral Line" (see an example here).

These news items summarize it this way:

"The first recognisable stone tools appeared in Africa around 2.6 million years ago, but they were not made by Australopiths. Rather it is thought the first tool maker was Homo habilis, whose evolution is believed to have led directly to man. Rather than being older than Homo habilis – and a possible direct ancestor – Little Foot is more likely a distant cousin."

One of the analysts, Dr. Alf Latham who assisted in these findings (see his photograph below), emails me that “the skull is now out and on show in Joburg.” (“Joburg” is short for the City of Johannesburg, South Africa.)

Over at Talk Origins, they make some interesting observations about the hands and feet of "Little Foot":

"The hand bones of Stw 573 seem to be like those of modern humans in being relatively unspecialized, having a short palm and fingers compared to modern apes. They lack the long, strong fingers used by chimps and gorillas for knucklewalking, and the elongation of the hand found in the highly arboreal gibbons and orang-utans. However the phalange (finger) bones which are visible from the side are curved like those of the Australopithecus afarensis skeleton Lucy, indicating they were probably used in climbing.

"Additionally, [Ronald] Clarke considers that the feet of Stw 573 are a very good match for the 3.7 million year old footprint trails discovered at Laetoli by Mary Leakey’s team."

In now seems clear that there have been several examples of overlapping fossil species in Africa; the news on "Little Foot" is more confirmation. In Patrick Huyghe’s and my field guide, we wrote:

"In 1975, a nearly complete skull of an ancient early human, since named Homo ergaster, was unearthed from the same two million year old sediment at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, that six years earlier had revealed a nearly complete skull of the tall, robust, crested apeman Paranthropus boisei. These and later findings, including some from South Africa, suggests that less than two million years ago, there were actually six species of hominids coexisting in southern and eastern Africa; three were different species of the large and robust apemen Paranthropus, and three were species of early humans, Homo (habilis, rudolfensis, and ergaster)."

CZ Museum

Australopithecus afarensis ("Lucy") bust is seen in the upper right hand corner. Photo credit: Luc Demers.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Little Foot Coexisted With Homo”

  1. BugMO responds:

    Interesting post, it makes you wonder if our ancient cousins could still be out there in the wild, living alongside us and only being seen for a few brief seconds before they disappear back into the mist from which they came.

  2. Rillo777 responds:

    I’ve already stated my views on evolution in other posts, but whether the earth is young or old, certainly it was much, much different than we can imagine in ancient times. And it is still possible some things exist that, according to mainstream science, shouldn’t. I find reports like this very encouraging.

  3. matty777 responds:

    Funny how new things still come out about our ancestry! I personally do not believe in evolution (at least with humans) and go with Apes and monkeys were always just what they are. Same goes with bigfoot and humans (or just humans according to Mr. Davis). Remains of upright primates may suggest evolution was involved but what we have is individuals reaching that do not accept we were created by God. I know science is science but humans are to complex to evolve from a lesser primate. Just my two cents.

  4. Tobar responds:

    Awwww, by little foot I thought you might have meant like from Land Before Time. I feel let down now. =P

  5. kittenz responds:

    I have always thought that our evolutionary history is very complex and varied, and that there have to have been many more species than are currently recognized. I believe that as time goes on, and research and exploration become more sophisticated, many more side branches to our species’ family will come to light.

    Perhaps small populations of these creatures and others survived in isolated areas for much longer than the fossil record indicates. We do not know what they looked like beyond a general idea. Maybe some of the legends of leprechauns and other little people originate from tales handed down, of creatures like this one.

  6. MBFH responds:

    To follow up on kittenz point, I have read an estimate “that over 900 million species have appeared since the earth was formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Of these only 130,000 fossil species have been described” (Corliss, W.R., Biological Anomalies: Humans III, p. 17). Even with more more sophisticated techniques we may never find any ‘missing links’ or ever be able to truly put together the true picture of how Homo species came to being. If there is a Bigfoot species, or Almasty, or any of the others the chances are high that they may not even be represented in the fossil record. Just my two penneth worth, as we say over here!

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