Oct
28
2006

Following the fossil footsteps

Ancient hunter-gatherers left their footprints in Mexico over 10,000 years ago. National Park Service.
Ancient hunter-gatherers left their footprints in Mexico over 10,000 years ago. National Park Service.

Researchers have discovered a set of human footprints in northeastern Mexico, near the city of Monterrey. Tentatively dated between 10 and 15 thousand years old, they could be the oldest fossil footprints in the Americas.

If the footprints turn out to be close to 15,000 years old, they could have a tremendous impact on our understanding of human history. Scientists have long believed that the first Indians came to America around 13,500 years ago. There is very little evidence of earlier habitation—just a handful of sites, which are hotly debated. Older footprints would force scientist to, at the very least, revise their timeline, and perhaps re-think their theories of how Indians populated the Americas.

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