The fossil trail discovered in the United States may have been the answer to a question that has fascinated scientists for years: When did the first people come to the United States after being scattered from Africa and Asia?
At White Sands National Park in New Mexico, researchers discovered a trench dug in the gypsum soil in the western part of the park.
The footprints were at various depths below the surface, and there were ancient grass seeds above and below them.
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey used radiocarbon dating to analyze the seeds and concluded that the track was 22,800 years old.
Many scholars believe that the ancient migration came via a land bridge connecting Asia and Alaska, the bridge sank.
But based on evidence such as stone tools, fossil bones and genetic analysis, others suggest that humans may have arrived in the United States 13,000 to 26,000 years ago.
“This study illustrates the scientific process — new evidence will transform long-established paradigms,” said Allison Ship, USGS Regional Director for Rocky Mountain.
Although the footprints found in New Mexico confirm that humans actually exist in the country, they may have arrived earlier.
This study, published in Science, is a more powerful source of fossil footprints than “cultural artifacts, modified bones, or other traditional fossils.”
The authors described the footprints, some of which are believed to have been left by children and youth during the last ice age, and they are “evidence of the exact time and place”.
“We know they are old, but there is no printing date before some (seeds) appear above,” said David Bustos, director of the White Sands Resource Project, which first discovered the footprints in 2009.
Footprints made of thin clay and clay were fragile, so researchers had to quickly collect samples.
“The only way we can save it is to record it – take lots of pictures and create 3D models,” Pastos said.
The White Sands National Park and USGS scientists were assisted by experts from the National Park Service, the University of Bournemouth, the University of Arizona, Cornell University and Native American partners in the park.
White Sands National Park is a treasure trove for archaeologists, compiling the fossil footprints of the world’s largest ice age.
In addition, traces of Colombian mammoths, saber-toothed cats, wolves and other animals of the Ice Age were found.
Supervisor Mary Chatter said: “These amazing discoveries make White Sand National Park not only a world-class recreation area, but also a wonderful science laboratory.
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