Look at this artistic rendering of what the scene at Laetoli might have looked like (supposedly) 3 million years ago. Do you have any trouble identifying what any of them are?
Now I've been outdoors enough to know that animal tracks are very distinct.
There are no feet and the only bone found of the hands is a single bone of one finger.
afarensis as having human (albeit hairy) hands and feet, are based solely on the human footprint found at Laetoli. They may be extinct now, but they lived at the same time as modern humans.
The problem is that, since Lucy, we've found more A.
I've never seen a giraffe's tracks (around here I see things like deer, rabbit, and raccoon) but if these scientists have identified a track as a giraffe's, they're probably right.
It's funny, though, when I imagine the conversations these scientists were having as they uncovered different tracks: When you find a human footprint, the most obvious interpretation is that it belongs to a human.
I mean, when they see the rhino track they don't question it belongs to a rhino. Oh, by the way, wouldn't this be another out of place fossil?