Footsteps of early human ancestors go missing in Crete

Sciencealert.com

Greek Reporter — A number of fossilised footprints believed to belong to an ancestor of modern humans have been stolen from Kissamos in Chania, authorities revealed on Thursday.

Ten out of some 40 footprints on the Kasteli site have been cut away and removed from the rock, where they were found by a Polish paleontologist in 2002.

The theft was reported by a member of the public that visited the site on Tuesday and alerted local police, and was later confirmed by the Natural History Museum of Crete.

“The issue of showcasing but also protecting antiquities that exist in the region must be dealt with directly,” said Kissamos Mayor Thodoris Stathakis.

In an announcement issued on Thursday, the Natural History Museum of Crete confirmed the theft and noted that the entire site and the footprints found have been accurately measured and recorded by research teams using laser techniques, so that every part of it is immediately identifiable and recognisable.

As a result, the museum says, it would be impossible to attempt to sell the footprints without the theft being immediately detected.