A recent study by author, Karen Moreno has disclosed that a 15,600-year-old footprint fossil which was found in Southern Chile is believed to be the evidence of the oldest human presence in the Americas.
In late 2010, the 26 cm-long, bean-shaped footprint was first uncovered at the Pilauco archaeological site in the Chilean city of Osorno.
“Little by little in South America we’re starting to find sites with evidence of human presence, but this is the oldest in the Americas,” Moreno was quoted as saying.
Reports say it took the researchers at the Austral University of Chile years to figure out its formation and age.
The reports further added that the researchers’ radiocarbon dated organic plant materials found in the fossil to estimate its age and produced a series of X-ray images to analyse the footprint in detail.
They also recreated the ancient scene by rehydrating soil samples obtained from Pilauco with different amounts of water and asked three people to walk across the muddy mixture.
“The results demonstrate that a human agent could easily generate a footprint morphology equivalent to the sedimentary structure when walking on a saturated substrate,” they wrote in the study published on April 24 in the journal PLOS One.
“Based on the evidence, we conclude that the track-maker might well have been a bare-footed adult human,” they added.
In 2018, 29 prehistoric human footprints that date back 13,000 years were found at a dig site on Calvert Island off the southwest shoreline of Canada.
By then, those footprints were confirmed as the earliest known of their kind in North America, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said in an earlier report.