Human fossilized footprints discovered in the New Mexico state of USA symbolize that ancient humans were walking across North America around 23,000 years ago, researchers reported Thursday.
The footprints were discovered in a dry lake bed in White Sands National Park, the footprints were first spotted by a park manager in 2009. Recently Scientists from the US Geological Survey analyzed seeds stuck in the footprints to determine their approximate age, ranging from around 22,800 and 21,130 years ago.
Most scientists believe ancient migration came by way of a now-submerged land bridge that connected Asia to Alaska. Other researchers based on various evidence — including stone tools, fossil bones, and genetic analysis, have suggested a range of possible dates for human arrival in the Americas, from 13,000 to 26,000 years ago or more.
The current discovery of fossilized human footprints in North America found in New Mexico indicates a more solid baseline for when humans were in North America, although the authors say that humans could have arrived even earlier. Fossil footprints are more indisputable and direct evidence than “cultural artifacts, modified bones, or other more conventional fossils,” they wrote. “What we present here is evidence of a firm time and location,” the researcher said.
Based on the size of the footprints, researchers believe that at least some were made by children and teenagers who lived during the last ice age.
The research was published Thursday in the journal Science.
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