Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce

BOONE—The spotlight is on Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce. Big time.

Her recently published research around the age and formation of the largest assemblage of Homo sapiens footprints discovered to date, in the shadow of the Ol Doinyo L’engai volcano in Tanzania, led to an Oct.10 article in National Geographic which prompted a feature on the front page of The Washington Post, and subsequent coverage by The Huffington PostThe Christian Science MonitorAussie Network News, and the British Broadcasting Company. The list goes on.

Liutkus-Pierce, an associate professor in the Department of Geology at Appalachian State University, said the attention is “exciting, overwhelming – but in the best way possible. So many of the people who have worked so hard on this project over the past several years are being rewarded for their efforts. And the interest in our research will be helpful as we continue.”

The data from the team’s research is now with the paleoanthropologists at the Smithsonian Institution and the American Museum of Natural History, who will explore what the prints can say about the printmakers. “I don’t want to scoop my colleagues,” Liutkus-Pierce said, “but the footprints tell us a great deal about the roots of human behavior – gender roles, movement patterns, what the people were doing and seeing… a true snapshot in time.”

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