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Published by: anon-884021 on Aug 13, 2008
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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 For other uses, see Footprint (disambiguation).
A human footprint on the Moon.
are the impressions or images left behind by a person walking.
are those left by animals withhoovesor  paws rather thanfeet, while "
" isthe specific term for prints made byshoes. They may either be indentations in the ground or something placed onto the surface that was stuck to the bottom of the foot. A "trackway" is set of footprints in soft earth left by a life-form;animal tracks are the footprints, hoofprints, or   pawprints of an animal.Footprints can be followed whentracking during ahunt or can provide evidence of activities. Some footprints remain unexplained, with several famous stories frommythology and legend. Others have provided evidence of prehistoric life and behaviours.
[edit] Footprints in detective work 
The print left behind at acrime scenecan give vital evidence to the perpetrator of the crime.Shoes have different prints based on thesoledesign and the wear that it has received – this canhelp to identify suspects.
Photographs or castingsof footprints can be taken to preserve thefinding. Analysis of footprints and shoeprints is a specialist part of forensic science.Some detective work is relatively immediate, with criminals being tracked by the footprints theyleft in the snow leading from the crime scene to their home or hiding place. This is usuallyreported as a humorous story in news publications.
Footprints can also allow the detective to find the approximate height by the size of the shoe. Theshoe tends to be approximately 15% of the person's height.
[edit] Ancient footprints
A reproduction of dinosaur footprints.Footprints have been preserved asfossilsand provide evidence of prehistoric life. Known as"ichnites", thesetrace fossilscan give clues to the behaviour of specific species of dinosaur . The study of such fossils is known asichnology and species known only by such evidence are known asichnospecies.The
is one example of agenusthat has left no fossils other thanichnites.The finding of footprints in thelimestonebeds of thePaluxy River  near Glen Rose, Texasshow what some people have interpreted as human footprints alongside those of dinosaurs. Thissparked theman track controversy,believed by someCreationiststo show that humans and dinosaurs coexisted.
[edit] Other footprint findings
Siwa Oasis – World's oldest footprint discovered over 3 million years old
Laetoli – human footprints from thePlioceneera (3.7 million years ago) preserved in volcanic ash.
Acahualinca – 6,000 year old human footprints fossilized in volcanic ash and mud in Nicaragua.
Uskmouth – human footprints carbon datedto 4200BC preserved inclay.
[edit] Footprints in myth and legend
One legend states that these impressions, kept in the Church of Domine Quo Vadis, are thefootprints of Jesus.The appearance of footprints, or marks interpreted as footprints, have led to numerous myths andlegends. Some locations use such imprints as tourist attractions.Examples of footprints in myth and legend include:
Buddha footprint – ananiconicand symbolic representation of theBuddha.
The Devil's Footprints – an unexplained series of hoof-like marks that appeared inDevon,Englandon8 February 1855after a light snowfall during the night.
Golden calf  – inIslam dust from the hoofprints of Haizum, the winged horse of archangel Gabriel, is used to animate the Golden calf.
Moso's Footprint – a 1m by 3m rock enclosure in Samoamade when thegiant Moso  stepped over to Samoa fromFiji, and the other footprint can be found on Viti Levu,the largest island of Fiji.
Footprints of Bigfoot, a cryptozoologicalanimal, are said to give proof to its existence.
Sri Pada, or 
 Adam's Peak 
, a mountain in Sri Lanka, has a large footprint-shaped impression in the rock at its summit, said by various religious adherents to be that of theBuddha, Shivaor Adam.
The reputed print of the right foot of Jesus is preseved in the Mosque of theAscension in Jerusalem.
A set of Jesus's footprints, according to legend, are preserved at the Church of Domine Quo Vadisoutside of Rome.
A mark in stone of the paving of theMunich Frauenkircheis known as the
("Devil's Footstep").

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