Fossil Footprints Show Earliest Evidence of People in Americas

Scientists on Thursday have reported the discovery of ancient human footprints preserved across the White Sands National Park in New Mexico dating back about 23,000 years to the Ice Age.

The new discovery offered definitive evidence that humans were in North America far earlier than archaeologists previously thought, 7,000 years earlier.

The tracks at one location have been revealed as both the earliest known footprints and the oldest concrete evidence of humans anywhere in the Americas, suggesting that people lived there between 21,000 and 23,000 years ago.

The results of the research, if they hold up to scrutiny, would rejuvenate the scientific debate about how humans first spread across the Americas, suggesting that they did so at a time when massive glaciers covered much of their path.

David Bustos, the park’s resource program manager, first discovered the footprints back in 2009. He has brought in an international team of scientists to help make sense of the finds over the years.

Experts from White Sands National Park, the National Park Service, the US Geological Survey, Bournemouth University, University of Arizona, and Cornell University conducted the research, published in the journal Science.

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