Who were the first people to set foot on American soil? We already knew that the settlers from Europe were not the first since Native Americans (who, by the way, have been wrongly called “Indians” for generations) preceded them. Several works have been carried out to unravel this mystery. While the date of the arrival of humans on this continent has been estimated at -14000, a new study published in Science pushes back this date by several tens of thousands of years.
Footprints discovered in New Mexico
Scientists have consulted footprints and dated them to determine the date on which humans are supposed to have begun to enter the Americas. These were discovered in New Mexico on the bottom of a White Sands National Park lake.
These tracks, which date from 21,000 to 23,000 years ago, are the “oldest direct evidence of human presence in the Americas,” according to the researchers.
The stated age of the footprints challenges the common notion that humans reached the Americas only a few thousand years before sea levels rose to cover the Bering land bridge between Russia and Alaska, perhaps about 15,000 years ago.
The “most convincing” evidence, the researchers assert.
This is not the first time this date has been put forward. In 2021, another team of researchers came to the same conclusion. However, the results of that study were controversial. Some skeptical scientists argued that other organisms in the lakes could have affected the carbon dating of the footprints. Archaeologist Thomas Urban, who participated in the 2021 study, reports:
The importance of the subject, which concerns how we interpret the final phase of world settlement, has made it contentious throughout history.
To prevent people from doubting their work, the new study’s researchers took a different approach. AP News writes about it:
The new study presents two more sources that prove the age of the data. It uses two different materials at the site: pollen from ancient coniferous trees and quartz grains.
The scientists say that these footprints would thus be the “most convincing” evidence for the presence of humans in the Americas before the last glacial maximum.
A new study confirms the initial analysis of ancient footprints, concluding that humans first entered the Americas at least 21,000 years ago. Consult: https://t.co/dNbfTOAuKl.
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