The Discovery of the Oldest Human Footprints in North America Thrilled Researchers. It Turns Out They May Not Be So Old

A joint team of US researchers has refuted previous claims that fossilized footprints, discovered in 2009 in the Otero Lake Basin of New Mexico’s White Sands National Park, are the oldest in North America – allegedly from the last ice age. The team’s latest work appears in a recent issue of Quaternary Research.

Last September, researchers with the USGS radiocarbon dating liver cancer Seeds are all over the footprints. Their results suggest that the footprints were made between 22,800 and 21,130 years ago. Previously, the earliest known humans in North America lived between 14,000 and 16,000 years ago. If true, the conclusion would overturn all assumptions in the field.

The team is in science last year. “It was a blockbuster,” said Ruth Gruhn, an academic archaeologist who was not involved in the study. “It’s hard to refute.”

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Kansas State University geologist Charles Oviatt, who helped refute these claims, told Heritage Daily This week he read the original science article, “and was initially shocked, not only by how huge the footprints themselves were, but also by the importance of accurate dating.”

Radiocarbon dating of ancient ditch grass seeds found in the footprints determined they were formed 23,000 years ago. Photo by David Bustos, courtesy of White Sands National Park, New Mexico.

Radiocarbon dating of ancient ditch grass seeds found in the footprints determined they were formed 23,000 years ago. Photo by David Bustos, courtesy of White Sands National Park, New Mexico.

Last year, researchers acknowledged that a “reservoir effect” could be causing the disturbance.underwater plants like liver canceran underwater ditch grass, appear older because they photosynthesize from water, which typically contains ancient carbon, rather than in the atmosphere, which would create a more modern picture.

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Oviatt arranges testing with three colleagues from DRI, University of Nevada and Oregon State University liver cancer Samples are kept at the Herbarium of the University of New Mexico. They were originally collected alive in 1947 from a nearby spring-fed pond.

These archived samples were dated by Beta Analytic, a leading commercial radiocarbon laboratory. The results indicated that the plants were 7,400 years old, “due to an offset from the plants’ use of ancient groundwater,” Heritage Daily famous. If these results are off by 7,400 years, it’s possible that White Sands’ footprints match existing records.

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“While researchers recognized the problem, they underestimated the fundamental biology of plants,” Rhodes said. “For the most part, it’s using carbon that’s found in lake water. In most cases, that means it’s absorbing carbon from sources other than the modern atmosphere — and those sources are often ancient.”

It’s all just the scientific method at work. “The original investigators went to great lengths to corroborate their story, and I’m told they’re still trying,” Lord told Artnet News. “They openly acknowledge the need for such hard evidence to convince the community at large. There is and will continue to be more work on this.”

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