I created this film clip for the Institute for Studies in Landscape and Human Evolution at Bournemouth University to support their research how climate change and landscape guided our evolution. It shows our prediction of how the Engare Sero hominid footprints, found today near Lake Natron in Tanzania, were created.
About 120,000 years ago the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano erupted, triggering a pyroclastic flow of hot ash and volcanic rock to surge down the cliff side. Some of this mixed with the snow atop the volcano to form rivers of lahar which flowed down into the plains towards Lake Natron. The plains became flooded, and over time the stagnant lahar thickened to form a thick cement-like mixture. At this point the hominids walked across the plains, leaving their footprints to bake in the hot sun and become permanent.
With thanks to:
Matthew Bennett, Sally Reynolds, & Peter Truckel - Project Supervisors
Amy Moore - VFX Assistant; provided lahar fluid simulation in shot 3
Music: 'Blue Planet' by Terry Devine-King; published by Audio Network.