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24 September 2021 - Ancient Footprints Push Back Date of Human Arrival in the Americas

Publié par Marion Coste le 24/09/2021

Fossil footprints challenge theory of when people first arrived in Americas

Maya Wei-Haas (National Geographic, 23/09/2021)

The footprints look like they were left behind just moments ago by a barefoot visitor to New Mexico's White Sands National Park, the amblings of a slightly flat-footed teen, each toe and heel impression crisply defined by a fine ridge of sand. 

But this is no tourist track. These prints are among the oldest evidence of humans in the Americas, marking the latest addition to a growing body of evidence that challenges when and how people first ventured into this unexplored land.

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Human footprints thought to be oldest in North America discovered

Gloria Oladipo (The Guardian, 23/09/2021)

New scientific research conducted by archaeologists has uncovered what they believe are the oldest known human footprints in North America.

Research done at the White Sands national park in New Mexico discovered the ancient footprints, with researchers estimating that the tracks were between 21,000 and 23,000 years old, reported Science.

The prints were buried in layers of soil in the national park, with scientists from the US Geological Survey analyzing seeds embedded in the tracks to calculate the age of the fossils. Researchers also determined that the dozen footprints found belonged to a variety of people, mostly children and teenagers.

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Fossilized footprints show humans made it to North America much earlier than first thought

Katie Hunt (CNN, 23/09/2021)

North and South America were the last continents to be settled by humans, but exactly when that started is a topic that has divided archaeologists.

The commonly held view is that people arrived in North America from Asia via Beringia, a land bridge that once connected the two continents, at the end of the Ice Age around 13,000 to 16,000 years ago. But more recent -- and some contested -- discoveries have suggested humans might have been in North America earlier.

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Fossil footprints prove humans populated the Americas thousands of years earlier than we thought

Matthew Robert Bennett and Sally Christine Reynolds (The Conversation, 24/09/2021)

Our species began migrating out of Africa around 100,000 years ago. Aside from Antarctica, the Americas were the last continents humans reached, with the early pioneers crossing the now-submerged Bering land bridge that once connected eastern Siberia to North America.

At times throughout the Pleistocene ice age, which ended 10,000 years ago, large ice sheets covered much of Europe and North America. The water locked in these ice sheets lowered the sea level, allowing people to walk the bridge from Asia through the Arctic to Alaska. But during the peak of the last glacial cycle, their path south into the Americas was blocked by a continental-wide ice sheet.

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