“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – this is how American astronaut Neil Armstrong described his first steps on the moon in July 1969. And since history tends to repeat itself, Once again, footprints have the potential to truly shock science.
The oldest human traces discovered on the American continent prove that it was colonized thousands of years earlier than previously thought.
Moreover, they are not found in the extreme north of the continent, but in New Mexico – more precisely, in White Sands National Park in the southern US state. The discovery was made in 2009.
In 2021, the team led by Matthew R. Bennett gained global attention when he started out Analyze the evidence for the presence of Homo sapiens in America Already 23 thousand years ago. According to the findings of the research team, it is assumed that the first humans arrived in the New World about 8,000 years ago. Years earlier than usually assumed.
However, the study was heavily criticized at the time, as it relied on seeds of the aquatic plant Ruppia cirrhosa, which had been found in fossilized prints. However, this plant cannot absorb carbon from the air, so some have questioned the validity of this evidence.
So scientists conducted further research by subjecting conifer tree pollen to radiocarbon analysis. For this purpose, they isolated nearly 75,000 people. Grains from the ground layers in which footprints were found. In addition, scientists examined soil samples using optically stimulated luminescence. This allows you to determine the last time the quartz grains were exposed to sunlight.
Both results Confirm Bennett’s team’s conclusions: Already about 21 – 23 thousand years ago, people were moving in the white sand area, which had not yet turned into a desert. These conclusions were reached by a team led by Geoffrey Bigatti from the United States, reported in the journal Science, and have strengthened the case for early settlement of the Americas.
Rock inscriptions on the walls of a cave in Nevada, USA
The question of the population of the American continent was based on the following finding: during the recent advance of the glaciers in America, large masses of water were transformed into huge expanses of ice at the pole. The result of the water connection was a drop in sea level of about 125 metres.
For this reason, it developed in the Bering Strait between eastern Siberia and Alaska A strip of land, a kind of bridge connecting the two areas. Its name was Beringia. It was roamed by large predatory animals, such as mammoths, woolly rhinos, and musk oxen. The first groups of people also moved to the New World along it.
These events are believed to have occurred 15,000 years ago. Years ago. At the time, Alaska was largely ice-free, but the ice barrier prevented southward migration. Only its melting about 11.5 thousand years ago enabled people to migrate south.
They developed Prehistoric Clovis culture From 11 thousand BC, the distinctive arrowheads produced by its representatives were first found in New Mexico in the 1930s, and Homo sapiens could have reached the Tierra del Fuego archipelago off the coast of South America only a thousand years later.
Critics aren’t so sure
However, a whole series of discoveries argues against this version. This is evidenced by research conducted by scientists using a number of dating methods, for example, in the Chiquihuet cave in central Mexico, and using the radiocarbon method, animal bones and charcoal were discovered along with stone tools dating back to between 31,000 and 33,000 years ago. . Years.
A stone tablet found in 2016 in Serra da Capivara in northeastern Brazil shows traces of human processing. A disk can contain from 24 to 26 thousand. Years. But what is problematic is the fact that both discoveries were made on this occasion No human remains were found.
However, even today’s critics acknowledge that humans arrived in America 13 to 14 thousand years ago. Years ago. This proves S Increasing acceptance of the so-called pre-Clovis period. Small groups of people had already roamed the New World before the great ice barriers to the north melted.
Many theories, little evidence
The coastal theory is supposed to be the explanation here. It is based on geological studies that show that the Pacific coast of North America was ice-free until 23,000 years ago. years BC, and the next period without glaciation was scheduled to begin 15,000 years ago. Years ago. Simple boats would enable rapid migration south. But that’s because potential cruise destinations have disappeared underwater until now There is no reliable evidence to support this theory.
This also applies to seemingly fantastic proposals that assume, for example, transatlantic settlement. The similarity of Clovis culture tools to Solutrean tools from Western Europe has been noted.
The nearly 60 white sand footprints preserved in long-dehydrated lake sediments that form the basis of the current study from the journal Science at least prove that the division of labor was indeed developed. The shapes of the foot splints indicate that they were most likely left by the young men responsible for carrying the burdens. Perhaps their children accompanied them to work.
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