Footprints of Ice Age humans about 13,000 years ago were found under the sand of a Canadian island in the Pacific, the earliest prints ever discovered in North America.
The 29 footprints of three different shapes and sizes, which scientists believe were from one child and two adults, were embedded in a layer of clay on Calvert Island in British Columbia. The barefoot prints pointed to a variety of activities, so people were not just passing through, according to a study published on Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.
It is believed that the first North Americans from Siberia through a Bering land bridge. The footprints indicate that the early travelers then traveled south along the Pacific coast and not further inland.
The findings add to the "growing body of evidence that early peoples in America inhabited the coastline and circled the western edge of the Cordillera Ice Shield to move between Beringia [the land bridge] and the central latitude of North America at the end of the ocean "The Last Glaciation," wrote the authors.
The fingerprints found during the 201
"The footprints were imprinted in a ground above the paleo-coast, possibly by a group of humans exiting watercraft moving to a drier central activity area," the study said.
"Since this island would have been accessible only by watercraft 13,000 years ago, this implies that the people who left the footprints were sailors who used boats to find and live in food and explore the islands", McClaren told the New York Times.
The few archaeological sites previously found in the north were earlier, from 12,700 to 11,800 years ago, according to Ars Technica. Human footprints 14,000 years old were discovered in Argentina and Chile.
The earliest boat is a dugout in the Netherlands, dating back to about 10,000 years ago.