Finding Fast-Fading Footprints

A serendipitous discovery leaves scientists thanking, and cursing, the weather.

The East Anglian village of Happisburgh, on the U.K.’s Norfolk coast, is a picturesque farming community of about 1,400 people. For 150 years, severe coastal erosion from groundwater and the North Sea has undermined land near the beaches — but that’s not always a bad thing. Just ask British paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer. Stringer, of the British Natural History Museum, is best known as a founding theorist of the so-called “out of Africa” theory, which contends ...

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