With less than a week to go to the big footprint event everything is hands on and all systems go!
I have run footprint events before but nothing on the scale and size of this one. We hope to attract over a thousand visitors next weekend to leave their footprints for science.
As a sedimentologist – someone who studies sediments both past and present – I have worked around the world for the last ten years on a range of footprint related studies. My colleagues and I have excavated and analysed fossil footprints in South America, Central America, Africa, and throughout Europe during this time. We now have a huge data base of ancient tracks. In 2009 I was part of a team that discovered the second oldest footprints in the world close to the village of Ileret in northern Kenya. It was a fantastic discovery and one of the defining moments in my own research career.
We have collected modern footprints in a series of events over the years to help us interpret these fossil tracks and to understand the processes that control footprint formation and the resultant track morphology. We are currently working on a project that translates this research into a series of tools for forensic scientists to use at modern crime scenes.
So as part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) 50th birthday celebrations we are at it again, collecting modern footprints to help us under the past and to assist in developing new forensic tools.
Come and join us next weekend and find out more!
Professor Matthew Bennett
Institute for Studies in Landscape and Human Evolution