Scientists in Chile Claim to Discover Oldest Human Footprint Ever in Americas
The discovery of this 15,000-year-old footprint questions the previously calculated history of human migration to America.
The discovery of this 15,000-year-old footprint questions the previously calculated history of human migration to America. (Note: Representative image)
A team of scientists in Chile have claimed to have found a human footprint that dates back more than 15,000 years, making it the oldest one ever found in the Americas. The discovery challenges the previous timeline and map of human migration into South America. Most available evidence held that humans did not reach the Patagonia region at the southern tip of South America until 12,000 years ago, stated Karen Moreno, one of the co-authors of the research, to CNN.
The scientists believe that the trace fossil is an impression of the bare right foot of an adult human, Moreno said. The research was published last week in the scientific journal PLOS-ONE. The footprint was found in 2010 at a paleo-archaeological site in the city of Osorno in the southern part of the country, at the edge of a town home development. But, it took years for scientists to confirm the age of the fossil through carbon dating.
A new wave of research has been ongoing on Osorno since 1986 and scientists have uncovered the remains of large animals, ranging from mastodons to horses to a paleo-llama, a larger species of llama that is now extinct. Human footprints as old as 3.6 million years old have been found in Laetoli, Tanzania. In 1978 scientists discovered a trail of footprints made there, where three early humans are believed to have trod through wet volcanic ash.
Last year, scientists found a footprint trail in British Columbia dating to 13,000 years ago. But, they were much younger and much closer to the Bering Strait than this new announcement in Patagonia.
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