Science: Laskey's Find

Tracks of an ancient ancestor

The ground trembled and the sky darkened with clouds of dust as the volcanic eruptions began. Startled, the animals gathered at the water hole—hyenas, saber-toothed tigers, giant elephants —took off in a great stampede. Joining in the flight were small creatures that though they looked like apes, walked upright. Before long, the rain of volcanic ash had completely buried the site and all signs of the life around it.

That dramatic scenario occurred nearly 4 million years ago in East Africa's Great Rift Valley. But last week...

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