Hay dating recovery
However, recent study of the Sadiman volcano has shown that it is not a source for the Laetoli Footprints Tuff (Zaitsev et al. Soft rain cemented the ash-layer (15 cm thick) to tuff without destroying the prints. The hominin prints were produced by three individuals, one walking in the footprints of the other, making the preceding footprints difficult to recover.
As the tracks lead in the same direction, they might have been produced by a group visiting a waterhole together, but there is nothing—or very little (see below, Interpretation and significance)—to support the common assumption of a nuclear family.
Based on analysis of the footfall impressions "The Laetoli Footprints" provided convincing evidence for the theory of bipedalism in Pliocene hominins and received significant recognition by scientists and the public.
Analysis of the Laetoli footprints indicated the characteristics of obligate bipedalism: pronounced heel strike from deep impressions, lateral transmission of force from the heel to the base of the lateral metatarsal, a well-developed medial longitudinal arch, adducted big toe, and a deep impression for the big toe commensurate with toe-off.
In 1978, Leakey's 1976 discovery of hominin tracks—"The Laetoli Footprints"—provided convincing evidence of bipedalism in Pliocene hominins and gained significant recognition by both scientists and laymen.
Although much debated, researchers have tentatively concluded that Australopithecus afarensis is the species of the three hominins who made the footprints at Laetoli.
Analysis of the footprints and skeletal structure showed clear evidence that bipedalism preceded enlarged brains in hominins.
At a species level, the identity of the hominins who made the trace is obviously difficult to precisely construe; Australopithecus afarensis is the species most commonly proposed.