Human footprints thought to date from the finish of the final ice age have already been discovered on the salt flats of the Air Force’s Utah Testing and Training Range (UTTR) by Cornell researcher Thomas Urban in forthcoming research.
Urban and Daron Duke, of Far Western Anthropological Research Group, were driving to an archaeological hearth site at UTTR when Urban spotted what were “ghost tracks”tracks that appear suddenly for a short while when moisture conditions are right, and disappear again.
Stopping to check, Urban immediately identified what things to him was a a familiar sight: unshod human footprints, much like those he’s got investigated at White Sands National Park, like the earliest recognised human footprints in the Americas.
“It had been a serendipitous find,” said Urban, research scientist in the faculty of Arts and Sciences sufficient reason for the Cornell Tree Ring Laboratory.
The researchers returned to the website the very next day and began documenting the prints, with Urban conducting a ground-penetrating radar survey of 1 of both visible trackways. Since he previously refined the use of geophysical methods, including radar, for imaging footprints at White Sands, Urban could quickly identify that which was hidden.
“As was the case at White Sands, the visible ghost tracks were just portion of the story,” Urban said. “We detected a lot more invisible prints by radar.”
Duke excavated a subset of the prints, confirming they were barefoot and that there have been additional unseen prints. Altogether, 88 footprints were documented, including both adults and children, offering insight into family life in enough time of the Pleistocene.
“Predicated on excavations of several prints, we’ve found proof adults with children from about five to 12 years which were leaving bare footprints,” Duke said within an Air Force news release. “People may actually have already been walking in shallow water, the sand rapidly infilling their print behind themmuch as you may experience on a beachbut beneath the sand was a layer of mud that kept the print intact after infilling.”
Since there haven’t been any wetland conditions in at the very least 10,000 years which could have produced such footprint trails in this remote section of the Great Salt Lake desert, Duke said, the prints tend a lot more than 12,000 yrs . old.
Additional research has been done to verify the discovery.
“We found a lot more than we bargained for,” Anya Kitterman, the Air Force Cultural Resource Manager for the region, said in a statement.
Urban was working at the request of Duke, who had previously found two open-air hearths in the UTTR dated to the finish of the Ice Age. At one of these brilliant hearth sites, Duke found the initial proof human tobacco use. Those hearths were in regards to a half-mile from the newly discovered footprints.
The website has broader significance, in accordance with Urban. “We’ve long wondered whether other sites like White Sands were on the market, and whether ground-penetrating radar will be effective for imaging footprints at locations apart from White Sands, because it was an extremely novel application of the technology,” he said. “The solution to both questions is ‘yes.'”
As the Utah site isn’t as old and could not be as extensive as White Sands, Urban said there might be much more found.
Citation: Ice Age human footprints discovered in Utah desert (2022, July 26) retrieved 26 July 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-ice-age-human-footprints-utah.html
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