Oldest human footprints in North America found in New Mexico

Oldest human footprints in North America found in New Mexico

WASHINGTON (AP)– Fossilized footprints found in New Mexico suggest that early people were strolling throughout North America around 23,000 years back, scientists reported Thursday.

The very first footprints were discovered in a dry lake bed in White Sands National Park in2009 Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey just recently evaluated seeds stuck in the footprints to identify their approximate age, varying from around 22,800 and 21,130 years back.

The findings may clarify a secret that has long fascinated researchers: When did individuals very first show up in the Americas, after distributing from Africa and Asia?

Most researchers think ancient migration came over method of a now-submerged land bridge that linked Asia to Alaska. Based upon different proof– consisting of stone tools, fossil bones and hereditary analysis– other scientists have actually used a series of possible dates for human arrival in the Americas, from 13,000 to 26,000 years ago or more.

The present research study supplies a more strong standard for when human beings certainly remained in North America, although they might have gotten here even previously, the authors state. Fossil footprints are more unassailable and direct proof than “cultural artifacts, customized bones, or other more standard fossils,” they composed in the journal Science, which released the research study Thursday.

” What we provide here is proof of a firm time and place,” they stated.

Based on the size of the footprints, scientists think that a minimum of some were made by kids and teens who lived throughout the last glacial epoch.

David Bustos, the park’s resource program supervisor, identified the very first footprints in ancient wetlands in2009 He and others discovered more in the park for many years.

” We understood they were old, however we had no chance to date the prints prior to we found some with (seeds) on top,” he stated Thursday.

Made of great silt and clay, the footprints are vulnerable, so the scientists needed to work rapidly to collect samples, Bustos stated.

” The only method we can conserve them is to tape them– to take a great deal of images and make 3D designs,” he stated.

Earlier excavations in White Sands National Park have actually discovered fossilized tracks left by a saber-toothed feline, alarming wolf, Columbian massive and other glacial epoch animals.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department gets assistance from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is exclusively accountable for all material.

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