Ancient footprints reveal humans occupied North America during ice age

Researchers have discovered ancient footprints of humans in New Mexico that date back 23,000 years. The study conducted by a group of scientists has revealed that humans reached the Americas at least 7,000 years earlier than what was previously recorded. Scientists believe that it is the biggest discovery ever in the history of humans in America.

The footprints were left in mud on the banks of a long dried-up lake, which is now part of a New Mexico desert. Scientists at the US Geological Survey recently analyzed seeds stuck in the footprints to determine their approximate age, ranging from around 22,800 and 21,130 years ago and the prints were buried in the layers of soil in the National Park. The footprints have been discovered across 80,000 acres of the park. 

Researchers also determined that lots of footprints found belonged to a variety of people, mostly children, and teenagers. The time was estimated to be during the ice age and it means humans occupied southern parts of the continent during the peak of the final ice age.

Other researchers have also offered a range of possible dates for human arrival in the Americas, from 13,000 to 26,000 years ago or more, and it was based on the evidence of stone tools, fossil bones, and genetic analysis.

The research was later published in the Journal Science and the study also describes nearby tracks found from mammoths, dire wolves, and giant ground sloths which are the prey for ancient humans.

These new observations imply that humans arrived in the Americas during the phase when huge glaciers used to cover the majority of the area. These footprints were left when humans, at that time, passed from the sandy ground of the margin of the lake. The area was covered like the land hardened but recently the prints re-emerged due to erosion.