Laetoli Footprints

A patch of open ground that must be crossed,

Where the air bristles with mortal danger.

Within the surrounding bush hungry eyes

Flit from one to the other, the woman

And the man with a long spear in his hand,

The trait of mutual care and protection

In their genes and ours to this very day

Two hominids mutually seeking

Re-assurance by walking hand in hand.


Their footprints in the mud leave a story,

That will not be read for three million years.

The Laetoli footprints of early man,

Australopithecus afarensis.

This was written after I read an article in National Geographic.

Laetoli is a site in Tanzania, dated to the Pleistocene and famous for its hominid footprints, preserved in volcanic ash. The site of the Laetoli footprints, dated to 3.6 million years ago, is located 45 km south of Olduvai Gorge.

The proximity and nearness of the footprints suggests that the walkers were holding hands. I choose to believe this.

Harry Wells







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