December 6, 2022

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The history of these human footprints goes back 12,000 years

Perhaps what was now a barren, dusty plain was an oasis that served as fertile ground for the first American settlers.

discovery. Immediately, archaeologists also found traces of an open hearth dating back about 12,300 years, burnt bird bones and tools made of coal and stone: all are unmistakable signs of human presence.

But the most important finding relates to (small) human footprints found imprinted in the ground. From the examination of the footprints it was concluded that the footprints of adults accompanied by children aged between 5 and 12 years. These are the people who most likely walked in shallow water, where the sand filled the footprints as they were imprinted, as when walking on the beach. However, there should be a layer of mud under the sand that kept the footprints intact after filling.

dates. How and when did these people first arrive in America? The point is under discussion. For a long time it was assumed that the first inhabitants of the Americas were a group known as the People (or culture) Clovis that settled on the continent about 15,000-13,000 years ago

Daron Duke, of the Anthropological Research Group of the Far West, shows visitors footprints unearthed at an archaeological site at the Utah Test and Training Range in July 2022.
© US Air Force photo / R. Niall Bradshaw

Recent discoveries have postponed this date, shifting the arrival of the first inhabitants to a time range of 25,000 to 37,000 years. Some specific studies on the people who inhabited the area indicate that the footprints may be more than 12,000 years old.

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nothing new? The discovery, after all, does not upset our knowledge of the early inhabitants of America, but they are nonetheless exceptional given their age and location. Other Pleistocene human footprints in the United States were recently discovered in White Sands National Park, New Mexico and dated to 21/23,000 years ago.