Chewie’s Footprints: What did we know from the unusually large footprints of a prehistoric hominid discovered in Africa?

A few years ago, a group of international scientists found in the Laetolil deposit, in Tanzania, footprints of an australopithecine 27 centimeters long, an unusually large size for these hominid primates.

One set of the footprints found in Laetoli were attributed to an individual nicknamed ‘Chewie’. Manzi et al./eLife

Paleontologists indicated that this ancestor was 1.65 meters tall and weighed about 50 kilograms, that is. Due to its size, Marco Cherin, a scientist at the University of Perugia (Italy), decided to baptize this hominid ‘Chewie’, in honor of the character Chewbacca from the ‘Star Wars’ saga.

Dr. Cherin said, “It is surprising that these tracks were left by the same group of hominids that were going in the same direction and at the same speed.” The tracks of this great Australopithecus, which could be considered a giant in its time, lived 3.7 million years ago and belong to an Australopithecus afarensis.

According to the Italian paleontologist, the finding of ‘Chewie’, shows that the weight and height of our ancestors could vary as much as in modern humans.

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