Scientists have determined that fossilized footprints found in New Mexico in 2005 were left between 21,000 and 23,000 years ago -- meaning there were humans in North America several thousand years before experts previously thought.
“We’d been suspicious of the age for a while, and so now we finally have that it’s really exciting,” says researcher David Bustos. “One of the neat things is that you can see mammoth prints in the layers a meter or so above the human footprints, so that just helps to confirm the whole story.”
Although the footprints were found in White Sands National Park, a desert, researcher Matthew Bennett says the area was once a lush wetland populated by cattle, camels, mammoths and ground sloths -- all of which were routinely hunted by Stone Age humans. “It’s the earliest unequivocal evidence for humans in the Americas,” he says.
Photo Credit: Getty Images