This could change history. What had been taken for granted about man in America was turned upside down. Why? Because human footprints 23,000 years old were found in America. It pushes forward by 10,000 years the date when men were thought to have arrived. And it opens the door to a new perspective on the settlement of this continent.
Footprints in the old lake
They were in the southwestern United States. They suggest that the human settlements of North America are older. Even before the end of the ice age. And it is assumed that the ice age allowed for such a migration. These footprints were left on the shore of a lake that is now dry. There’s a desert there now. It’s in New Mexico, inside White Sands National Park.
Over time, sediment covered the footprints. They protected them until erosion exposed them to the great delight of scientists. “Many footprints appear to be those of adolescents and children. Larger, adult footprints are less common.” The authors detail this in the study published in the journal Science.
Tracks of prehistoric animals, mammoths and wolves were also identified. Some, like those of giant sloths, are even contemporary. They are close to those of humans on the shore of the lake.
The finding is decisive for the debate over how Homo sapiens came to America. “Humans were present on the landscape at least 23,000 years ago. With a record of occupation of nearly two millennia,” the study stressed.
The theory goes that they crossed the present-day Bering Strait to reach Alaska and then expanded southward. The evidence suggested that the oldest culture is 13,500 years ago. The so-called Clovis culture.
The 23,000-year-old human footprints in the Americas change that idea. The history of our arrival on this last continent has not yet been written.