What do dinosaurs and the fossil footprints of our ancient human ancestors have to do with catching criminals?
Researchers at Bournemouth University have travelled the world over the last few years documenting fossil footprints both of humans and extinct animals. We read the story in the traces left in the rock record, to tell the story of how different animals interacted, how they walked and behaved. We have developed freeware to help capture these traces in 3D and analyse them using some cool mathematical techniques including machine learning. Recently we have shown how our American ancestors hunted giant ground sloth, and how patterns of human locomotion have changed as our ancestors in Africa evolved. Take this know-how, the mathematical tools and computer software we have developed to translate our research into forensic practice, and you have modern tools for the police to track criminals via their footprints.
Want to find out more? Come and see us at New Scientist Live 10-13 Oct 2019 ExCeL, London. Stand 524.