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Ancient footprint autopsy: Did humans enter the Americas sooner than previously thought?

کالبد شکافی رد پای باستانی: آیا انسان‌ها زودتر از آنچه تصور می‌شد، وارد قاره آمریکا شد‌ه‌اند؟

The arrival of humans to the Americas has long been a topic of debate among researchers. According to a recent article in Science It’s been publishedResearchers studying and tracing the footprints found in the White Sands National Park in New Mexico state that the footprints found are between 21,000 and 23,000 years old. If the dating is accurate, it means that humans entered the continent thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

As we have said, the exact time of the arrival of humans on the American continent is one of the topics on which researchers do not have a single opinion.

For decades, many archaeologists believed that humans entered North and South America at the end of the last ice age. They referred to evidence such as stone tools dating back to about thirteen thousand years ago – a technology known as the Clovis culture. (This culture is named after the city of Clovis in the US state of New Mexico, where the artifacts were found.)

Clovis tools date back to the time of the retreat of refrigerators. Thus, the theory was put forward that Siberian hunter-gatherers migrated to Alaska during the Ice Age and lived there for several generations, until ice-free paths emerged and humans were able to Migrate south.

But beginning in the 1970s, some archaeologists began to publish older evidence of human presence on the American continent. Last year, Dr. Ardelin and colleagues published an article in the Journal of Nature about stone tools found in caves in Mexico. publish کردن It dates back to about 26,000 years ago.

But the findings of these studies were met with skepticism. Ben Potter, an archaeologist at Liao Cheng University in China, says many of these so-called tools may have been originally unusual stones rather than stone “tools.” Potter also questioned some of the histories of these findings. For example, if a tool penetrates the lower layers of sediment, it may look older than it really is.
“There are unresolved issues with each of them,” he says.

But a recently published study differs from other findings. Because in this case, not stone tools, but footprints have been found. The footprints were first discovered by David Bostos, the park’s resource manager, in 2009. And over the years, an international team of researchers has come to White Sands Park to review the findings.

After years of field work in Whitesunds Park, New Mexico, researchers have found thousands of footprints around the bed of a lake that is now dry. These footprints are the remains of humans and animals such as mammoths and lazy earthlings that are now extinct.

The published article examines about sixty human footprints found per week of sediment. Matthew Bennett of Bournemouth University believes that most of the footprints found were left by teenagers and children.

Kevin Hatala, a specialist in ancient footprints at Chatman University, Says “There is no doubt that these footprints belong to humans.”

“So, the question is, how old are they?” Says Jennifer Ruff, a genetic anthropologist at the University of Kansas at Hatala.

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These footprints were created when humans walked on the wet ground and sand of the lake. Later, sediments slowly fill the footprints and the ground hardens. Subsequent erosions, however, caused these footprints to reappear. In some cases, these effects are only apparent when the ground is unusually wet or dry – otherwise they are not visible to the naked eye. However, using ground-penetrating radars, their three-dimensional structure, including the heel and toes, can be seen.

For the measurement, the researchers used the seeds found in several layers of land between the footprints.

The researchers brought some of these seeds to a laboratory and measured the amount of carbon in them so that they could age. In the process, it was found that the seeds are about 23,000 to 21,000 years old: thousands of years before the end of the last ice age. If the footprints are as old as this, it means that humans entered the continent before the ice sheets blocked the way to the United States.

The researchers knew that the antiquity of these findings could cause much debate, so they continued their research and dug a trench next to a number of human and animal footprints. But other studies confirmed the preliminary results: The seeds found on the oldest footprints in the area – left by an adult human and a mammoth – were about 22,800 years old.

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Seeds used to determine the age of the findings

In other words, the people who left their mark on the White Sands were present in the Americas about tens of thousands of years ago. Researchers estimate that the most recent of these footprints dates back to about 21130 years ago.

Ben Potter says this article is the strongest study to show that humans were on the American continent 16,000 years ago. But it would have been better if there was other evidence, in addition to dating based on the seeds found in the bed of this dried-up lake. This is because the seeds may have absorbed older carbon from the lake water and thus look older than they really are.
“I want to see stronger data, and I do not know if such a thing is possible in this particular area,” he said.

Oregon State University archaeologist Lauren Davis says she wants the team to use the Optically Stimulated Luminescene method – a method that determines when these seeds were last exposed to light – to date the findings. “It’s great to have so much evidence for such an extraordinary thing,” he says.

The group, however, has not found any instrument that reflects the culture of the people who left these footprints.

The reason for the great emphasis on the dating and antiquity of these findings It becomesThat is, if there is evidence of a presence on the American continent during the Last Glacial Maximum, there will be a fundamental change in the way humans think about entering the region. Did humans enter the area before the route was blocked, or did they enter the coast through icy areas?

If humans had settled in New Mexico 23,000 years ago, they would have moved south from Alaska long before that.

Some researchers claim that humans may have dispersed to the Americas when glaciers were at their peak and moving along the coast. But Dr. Ardlin and his colleagues believe that humans began their journey more than 32,000 years ago, before the Ice Age reached its peak and blocked the path of humans.

Despite the evidence from Whitesunds, both of these theories can be true, and proof of one of them requires further research.

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Researchers will do more research at Whitesunds. They want to know about the behavior of the people who left their mark there. Did they hunt the animals around them? Did they live by the lake permanently or not?

There are other questions that remain; Including when and how humans began to migrate and how their arrival affected animals and the existing landscape. You need to hurry to research at Whitesunds. Because the erosion that led to the appearance of these footprints may destroy them in the coming months or years.

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