Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Footprints Galore

First there was the "Mystery Moggy's Literary Legacy" - in which the University of Otago's rare books Librarian Donald Kerr discovered on reading a venerable tome more than five centuries old, that there were three inky cat paw prints enhancing the Latin text.

A fine imprimatur on one of the earliest printed books, made by the printer's pussycat.

And then, the great footprint swindle at the Olympics. Shock horror!

On Fox TV they're reeling from the revelation that we had all been taken in by smoke and mirrors and digital trickery, as well as being fooled by a stand-in for one of the key singers onstage at the spectacular opening ceremony. Well, hello hypocrisy! This would not be the first time the hard work was done behind the scenes and a good-looking puppet put out the front to take the credit, would it? Didn't Hollywood invent that sort of thing?

Anyway all this talk about footprints reminded me of one of my favourite things: the Laetoli footprints, in which a few moments that happened more than 3 and a half million years ago, have been frozen in time by a felicitous combination of conditions, including volcanic ash falls. The preserved footprints of what seems to be a small family of an early form of humans, some of the first to walk upright, were discovered in 1976.

There were lots of animal and bird footprints also found at the site. I haven't heard whether there were any pussycat tracks.

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