Oldest human footprints in North America suggest ‘early ‘ entrance’ to America

Researchers discovered footprints that are about 13,000 years old on the coast of an island in Canada’s Pacific coast.

(Duncan McLaren)

Researchers on Wednesday published details of the discovery of footprints determined to be 13,000 years old. The prints were found on the coast of an island north of Vancouver, and the scientists said that they are the oldest ever found in North America.

LiveScience reported that the footprints — 29 in all — seem to have been made by two bare feet adults and a child. She left the imprint in the wet clay, in the vicinity of the edge of the water on Calvert Island.

The age of the site is also remarkable, scientists said, and “suggests a beginning of the entrance to America,” Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist, said.

The LiveScience report said archaeologists were amazed at how well preserved the footprints were. Scientists were able to determine the sizes of the feet: the child was a junior size 1; while one of the adults wore a woman’s size 3 and the other wore a man’s size 7.

The island today is dense with forests and can only be reached by boat.

Duncan McLaren, an anthropologist at the Hakai Institute and the University of Victoria in British Columbia, said in an interview that the finding “provides evidence that the people were in the region at the end of the last ice age.”

“It is possible that the coast was one of the means by which people entered the Americas at the time,” he said, according to the New York Times.

The scientists determined the age of the footprints by the use of radiocarbon.

“Ultimately, the data seem to show irrefutable evidence for the presence of humans along the Pacific Coast of Canada,” Kevin Hatala, an assistant professor in biology at Chatham University, told Science. “This is important because the archaeological excavations from this time and place are quite rare.”

Edmund Initiative is a news editor for Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.

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