US News 23,000-year-old footprints rewrite the human history of America
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in the southwest of the United States, in a white gypsum desert located in New Mexico, in the White Sands National Park, traces. Step dating from 23,000 years old were discovered.
footprints dating from 23,000 years have been discovered in the southwestern United States,, suggesting that the population of North America by the human species was already started well before the end of the last ice age, supposed to have allowed this migration. These footprints were left at the time in the mud of the banks of a lake today dry. He gave way to a white gypsum desert located in New Mexico, in White Sands National Park.
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Over time, the sediments have filled the fingerprints and have hardened, protecting them until erosion again reveals these testimonies of the past, for the greatest pleasure of scientists. "Many traces seem to be those of adolescents and children; the large footprints of adults are less frequent," write the authors of the study published in the American journal Science.
traces of animals, mammoths and prehistoric wolves, have also been identified. Some, like those of lazy giants, are even contemporary and neighbors of human footprints on the edges of the lake.
Beyond the emotion and anecdote, the discovery is critical for the debate that raged on the origins of the arrival of Homo Sapiens in America, the last continent populated by our species. Because the dating of White Sands traces "indicates that humans were present in the landscape here at least 23,000 years, with proofs of occupation extending approximately over two millennia," says the study.
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The "Primitive Clovis Clois"
for decades, the most commonly accepted thesis was that of a settlement from Eastern Siberia during which our ancestors would have crossed a land bridge - the current Bering Strait - to land in Alaska , then spread further south.
of the archaeological evidence, including spearheads for killing mammoths, have long suggested a 13,500 year old population associated with a so-called Clovis culture - the name of a New Mexico City - considered the first American culture from which the ancestors of the Amerindians come from.
This model of "Primitive Clovis" has been called into question for 20 years, with new discoveries that declined the age of the first stands. But usually that date was not going beyond 16,000 years after the end of the "last glacial maximum".
This episode of glaciation is crucial because it is commonly accepted that the glacial caps covering at the time most of the northern continent made it impossible, or in any case very difficult, any human migration from Asia, by the Strait from Being or, as suggested by recent discoveries, along the Pacific coast.
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