A team of researchers and archeologists discovered impressions of human footprints believed to be the oldest ever found in North America.
Discovered at a shoreline at an archaeological dig site on Calvert Island, British Columbia in Canada, the charcoal in the human footprints had radiocarbon dated to 13,200 years old confirming that is indeed the oldest in North America and the second oldest in the Americas.
Archaeologists Daryl Fedje and Duncan McLaren and some researchers from the Hakai Institute and University of Victoria excavated the area below the high tideline and unearthed 12 human footprints that remained intact in clay. They found distinct footprints of a large adult, a smaller adult, and a child.
The newly discovered footprints were dated back to 13,200 years old, while other prints were dated as young as 2,000 years old. Other footprints need to be dated to confirm findings.
The discovery of the footprints may provide evidence on how the first inhabitants of the North American continent migrated south, according to Hakai. Earlier, it was theorized that people migrated via boats since Cavert islands is only accessible by plane or by boat.
Archeologist Duncan McLaren said: “We figure that at some point people were hanging out around this fire. They left their footprints in the grey clay and then they were subsequently filled by this black sand, which essentially preserved the footprint.”
Considered rare, fossilized human footprints which are more than 10,000 years old are quite hard to find. In fact, just a few dozen had been discovered at 65 localities in the world. Although human activity more than 14,000 years ago had been confirmed in sites such as Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, they have not found fossilised footprints.
The oldest known human footprint, which dated 14,800 years ago, was discovered in a site in Monte Verde, Chile.