THOUSANDS of people across the world are lending their support to a team of archaeologists in Bradford who have harnessed the power of the internet to make some potentially history changing discoveries.

The more than 5,000-strong band of "citizen scientists" include people from almost every country in the world who have volunteered to help the team, based at the University of Bradford, explore an area of Kenya where they hope to find remains of early hominids.

The pioneering Fossilfinder project began in September asking people to study thousands of photographs taken of the Turkana Basin in Northern Kenya using super high definition cameras attached to a moving rig.

In the four months that have passed since the website went live at the British Science Festival, the thousands of volunteers have studied more than 40,000 images, making it arguably the biggest archaeological project ever undertaken.

The volunteers scour the photos online, and if they find see anything that could be of interest to the archaeological team they let them know. The team travels to the site next month to follow up on the tip offs they have been given by their army of armchair fossil hunters.

The basin is famous for discoveries of fossils of human ancestors, and the project gives people who may never have the chance to take part in an ambitious archaeological project the opportunity to play their part in re-writing the history books.

Project manager Dr Adrian Evans said: "It has gone really well, we have had 5,000 people sign up for it since the launch in September.

"It means 40,000 images have been fully studied. You think of how many man hours have been put in when you have 5,000 people helping you.

"People have really taken to it, and it has grown such a great online community. You look at the comments people are making on the site, even arguing with each other about what they have found.

"Some of the things people have identified have probably been hippo bones or animal dung.

"We will be going to the locations that have been identified in February and March. We'll be putting our findings online for people to see what they have helped discover.

"One of the main goals is to find early human remains. Not so long ago there were tools found at the other side of the lake, and we are interested in finding which hominids were responsible for making them. This website will help us find areas we are likely to find things, and it will be really useful to help us learn how we can use this technology to find things in the future.

"An image that was taken in a thousandth of a second can be looked at by thousands of people for as long as they want. If it was one person walking around this land they might only be able to look at a spot for a fraction of a second.

"This is something that is unprecedented in our field, crowd sourced research of this size. We have at least one person doing this in every country around the globe.

"It allows people to use their computer to help us develop a better understanding of human history, rather than just playing on Farmville."

To take part in the project, visit