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Who was responsible for the 'Devil's trail' ?

Posted on Wednesday, 29 January, 2020 | Comment icon 8 comments

Who was walking on the volcano and why ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 edmondo gnerre
Researchers have shed new light on a trail of fossil footprints found along the side of an extinct volcano.
Known locally as 'Ciampate del Diavolo' or 'Devil's Trail', the impressive prints, which were preserved within pyroclastic flow deposits on the side of Italy's extinct Roccamonfina volcano, were discovered by researchers in 2001 and date back around 350,000 years.

For centuries, the local people have attributed these prints to a demon or devil, but in more recent years scientists have begun to shed light on which species of hominin may have been responsible.

Now according to a new paper, the most likely candidate would have been Neanderthals, not modern humans, and they were climbing up the volcano, not down it.
At least five individuals made the ascent, although it is not clear why they should have been going up there, especially since the volcano must have erupted shortly beforehand.

When fresh, the material that preserved the prints would have been a searing 300 degree Celsius, meaning that they must have at least waited for a while before attempting the climb.

Certainly, questions still remain, such as whether or not they ever made it back down again alive.

Also, did they go up there out of curiosity or did they have a more specific goal in mind ?

As things stand, we may never know for sure.

Source: Forbes | Comments (8)

Tags: Footprints

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by XenoFish on 25 January, 2020, 11:35
Humans be curious creatures.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Nnicolette on 29 January, 2020, 17:13
Comment icon #3 Posted by MissJatti on 29 January, 2020, 18:09
Certain Death
Comment icon #4 Posted by Robotic Jew on 29 January, 2020, 18:24
It was me...sorry guys.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Seti42 on 29 January, 2020, 20:59
Good hypothesis. Obsidian would have been a real treasure in the stone age. Fun fact: It's still used for some surgical blades.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Ozfactor on 30 January, 2020, 9:51
If they were after obsidian, couldn't they have waited for the lava to cool before walking on it ?
Comment icon #7 Posted by jbondo on 30 January, 2020, 18:47
Cue the Unknown Comic doing his impression of the first man on the sun.
Comment icon #8 Posted by DieChecker on 31 January, 2020, 0:57
Tony... it was Tony. I could imagine them going up there to get something... Fire maybe. Or perhaps for religious reasons. Many speculate Nesnderthals originated the idea of religion.

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