Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Willandra Footprints                                                                                                                  

The footprints, that are 20,000 years old, found at Willandra Lakes are important for a number of reasons. There are more footprints at this site than all other known footprints from the Pleistocene of the entire world combined. One is notable for its size, 29.5 cm long. It was apparently made by a very tall man running fast, estimated at about 37 km/hr, in the range of Olympic speeds. Track Way 4 is special for another reason, because of 7 men running parallel, evenly spaced like on a running track, and curving apparently like a running track, there is a 1-legged man, only the track of his right foot is visible. It has been speculated that they may have been running to cut off an animal they were hunting from escaping. The possibility of 20,000 year old Olympics has not been considered. Other tracks are of a man with several children. Many of the tracks appear to have been made by 1 or more family groups, some running, some walking.

The footprints have been preserved because they were made in a magnesite pavement when it was wet, then soon after was covered and dried out.

The WLH50 remains are of a very large man that is believed to be more archaic than any other Aboriginal remains, said to be even more robust than H. erectus from Java, possibly as the result of a blood condition that is believed to have protected the people of Java from malaria.


  1. Willandra Footprints
  2. An Australasian test of the recent African origin theory using the WLH-50 calvarium
  3. Pleistocene human footprints from the Willandra Lakes, southeastern Australia
  4. Further research of the Willandra Lakes fossil footprint site, southeastern Australia

Sources & Further reading

  1. Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing
  2. Phillip J. Habgood & Natilie R. Franklin, The revolution that didn't arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul, Journal of Human Evolution, 55, 2008


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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