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Dec 3 / Dave Schumaker

Earliest Human Footprints Found in Mexico?

Human Footprints in MexicoWe’ve previously covered this subject. In July, human footprints in 40,000 year old ash beds had allegedly been found in Mexico. That finding alone has significant implications on when humans first arrived into the Americas.

Now a new team of researchers have been using different dating techniques, such as paleomagnetism and argon-argon, on these ash deposits. The results of their findings? The ash beds are 1.3 million years old. If this is an accurate date (and assuming the footprints aren’t a hoax, or something else entirely), this completely blows away various theories about the speed of human radiation out of Africa.

“If these really are footprints, and they were made 1.3 million years ago, that would be absolutely revolutionary,” said Paul Renne, a geologist at the University of California, Berkeley who was involved in the new dating.

Humans are not thought to have even been around 1.3 million years ago. According to most scientific estimates, modern humans didn’t begin appearing in Africa until about 200,000 years ago. If the markings really are footprints, then it would mean one of two things: either humans appeared much earlier than previously thought or the footprints were made by an early ancestor of humans like homo erectus.

Renne thinks both possibilities are extremely unlikely. So where does that leave things?

Man, cow or machine

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