Footprints Reveal Humans Lived in North America at Least 21K Years Ago

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.

Do you think we’ll ever know the true origin of humankind?

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