Human evolution Intelligent Design

Oldest footprints in North America —children’s — made at 22,500 years ago

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In what is now New Mexico. That was thousands of years before humans were generally held to have settled in North America:

The dates raise questions about when and how humans from Siberia settled in the region, with evidence growing that they skirted the Pacific coast while inland routes were entrenched in ice. The authors of the study say the footprints give credence to contentious evidence of even earlier signs of settlement in the Americas…

For decades, archaeologists associated the earliest Americans with 11,000–13,000-year-old stone spear points and other vestiges of ‘Clovis’ culture (named after another New Mexico site, but found throughout North America). The dates coincide with the recession of a continent-size glacier, which created an ice-free corridor through central Canada…

Research journals are dotted with claims of even earlier sites, including a controversial Nature paper that put humans in California 130,000 years ago2. But many of these claims have been discounted because of the equivocality of the evidence: rocks potentially mistaken for tools, marks on animal bones that might have been made by natural processes — or diggers, in the case of the California claim — rather than butchery.

Ewen Callaway, “Ancient footprints could be oldest traces of humans in the Americas” at Nature The paper is closed access. (September 23, 2021)

It shows that humans lived in North America at the height of the Ice Age:

Scholars have long been aware of the tracks, which are known as “ghost prints” because they are only visible under particular weather conditions. But the new study is the first to clearly date them to such an early era. The researchers determined when the footprints were made through radiocarbon dating of dried ditchgrass seeds found in layers both above and below the impressions…

Ciprian Ardelean, an archaeologist at Autonomous University of Zacatecas in Mexico who co-authored one of the earlier studies of ancient tools but was not involved in the new research, tells the Times that the paper provides definitive support for the idea that humans lived in North America at the height of the Ice Age.

“I think this is probably the biggest discovery about the peopling of America in a hundred years,” he says. “I don’t know what gods they prayed to, but this is a dream find.”

Livia Gershon, “Prehistoric Footprints Push Back Timeline of Humans’ Arrival in North America” at Smithsonian Magazine

Our ancestors keep confuting the best theories with irritating evidence.

You may also wish to read: Huge sandstone camel sculptures in Saudi Arabia are much older than thought. At 7,000–8,000 years old, they predate the domestication of camels (so far as we know). Ancient people get smarter every time we run into them.

and

Shell beads from Morocco found at 142,000 years ago. It’s fair to say that all clothing is a form of communication. True, we need clothing for warmth and protection but few people would wear tea cozies or aluminum siding, even if they theoretically work. Even back when most clothing was animal products, the type of skin or leather and any adornments thereon could probably tell us a lot. And beads? They serve no purpose except communication.

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