Discovery of the oldest traces of humans in North America
Wednesday, 28 march, 2018 19:54
Wednesday, 28 march 2018 20:06
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Footprints of humans unearthed on an island along the coast of British Columbia, in Western canada, are thought to date from about 13,000 years ago, which would make it the oldest discovered in North America, according to a study published on Wednesday.
These traces are likely to be those of two adults and one child, who walked barefoot on a clay soil, on what is now a beach of the island Calvert, in the north-east of the island of Vancouver, say the authors of the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
In all, 29 footprints have been discovered in sediments during excavation work carried out from 2014 to 2016, said the lead author of the study, Duncan McLaren, professor of anthropology at the Hakai Institute and the university of Victoria, British Columbia.
The study tends to demonstrate that humans were present on the Pacific coast in British Columbia there are approximately 13 000 years old and that the area was already free of ice well before the end of the last glacial period on the continent, which date of 11 700 years ago.
This discovery proves a bit more the hypothesis is supported by a number of more and more researchers, according to which the first humans arrived in North America migrated from Asia via a corridor of land along the coast, ice-free, to finally arrive in British Columbia.
To support this hypothesis has not been easy for the researchers because this region of Canada, very rugged and covered with dense forest, is only accessible by boat, they explained.
To achieve this, the researchers have focused their excavations in an area of tides on the island to Calvert, where the water level was two to three metres lower than today at the end of the ice age.
The authors believe that further work on excavation with more elaborate methods would allow to discover more footprints, helping to reconstruct little by little the history of the earliest human settlements along the west coast of North America.