Unlike modern humans, however, this species had short legs and a long body. When compared to other animals, we have just the opposite: relatively long legs and a short body.
Sarah Elton of the Hull York Medical School told Discovery News, "Although there have been heated disagreements over how to interpret the Laetoli footprints, this incredibly detailed and well thought-out study must surely help to put some of the debate to rest."
She continued, "I was surprised by such clear evidence for a very 'human-like' foot morphology and walking style, particularly the presence of a longitudinal arch, and 'toe off' when walking."
Elton added, "This strongly suggests that the makers of the footprints, although living over 3 million years ago, shared many features of their locomotion with us."
Crompton and his team next hope to determine when our ancestors first walked, or ran, over very long distances, enabling them to colonize the world.