Scientists say they have discovered human footprints in England that are at least 800,000 years old - the most ancient found outside Africa, and the earliest evidence of human life in Northern Europe.
A team from the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the University of London uncovered imprints from up to five individuals in ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh on the country's east coast.
British Museum scientist Nick Ashton says the prints are "a tangible link to our earliest human relatives".
"This is an extraordinarily rare discovery," Ashton said.
"At first we weren't sure what we were seeing but as we removed any remaining beach sand and sponged off the seawater, it was clear that the hollows resembled prints, perhaps human footprints, and that we needed to record the surface as quickly as possible before the sea eroded it away," he continued.
The scientists say the humans who left the footprints may have been related to Homo antecessor, or "pioneer man", whose fossilised remains have been found in Spain and who died out 800,000 years ago.
It is believed the group of early humans who left the prints consisted of one male and several smaller people, likely females and children, the researchers said.
The find was announced Friday, and published in the journal PLOS ONE.
The only known footprints believed to be older than the newly discovered set in England are in Laetoli in Tanzania.
They have been dated back 3.5 million years.