Footprints in Crete date to 6.05 million years ago + WWII Japanese ghost ships rise

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Japanese ghost ships that were sunk by the US during WWII at Battle of Iwo Jima have RISEN from the ocean floor after seismic activity from one of island's most active volcanoes

KEY POINTS (MORE - details, images):

• Seismic activity at Mount Suribachi has resulted in a number of ships being raised after they were sunk as part of the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.
• The remaining hulks are what is left of the ships, brought to the island as it had no port facilities.
• The seabed has started to rise due to the seismic activity, in particular the western part of the island.
• Twenty-four Japanese transport vessels were captured by the U.S. Navy during WWII and were moved to the western part of the island to form a port.
• There are no inhabitants on Iwo Jima, but it is occupied by the Japanese military after it was returned by the U.S. military in 1968.

New research suggests human-like footprints in Crete date to 6.05 million years ago

INTRO: The oldest known human-like footprints may be even older than previously believed [...] New research suggests the controversial fossilized imprints, found on the Greek island of Crete in 2002, are around 6.05 million years old.

Originally dated to 5.7 million years ago, the 50 footprints might predate this estimate—proposed by scholars in 2017—by more than 300,000 years, according to a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Believed to be left by hominins, the footprints could upend scientists’ understanding of how early humans evolved, moving the group’s starting point from Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, reports Ruth Schuster for Haaretz. Researchers say it’s possible the bipedal creature who made the marks was a member of Graecopithecus freyberg, an early human ancestor discovered in 1944 and nicknamed “El Graeco.”

“The tracks are almost 2.5 million years older than the tracks attributed to Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy) from Laetoli in Tanzania,” says study co-author Uwe Kirscher, an expert on paleogeography at the University of Tübingen, in a statement.

Writing for the Conversation in 2017, Matthew Robert Bennett, an environmental scientist and geographer at Bournemouth University, and Per Ahlberg, an evolutionary biologist at Uppsala University, said, “The footprints are small tracks made by someone walking upright on two legs.”

The pair, who co-authored both the 2017 study and the new paper, added that the impressions “have a shape and form very similar to human tracks,” including five toes without claws, a parallel big toe and a ball of the foot. [...] Some scientists are skeptical of the study’s claims, doubting that the Graecopithecus freyberg species even existed... (MORE)

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