MONTREAL – Human footprints found on an island off the coast of western Canada date back to 13,000 years ago, making them the oldest found in North America, according to a study published Wednesday.
The footprints are believed to be those of two adults and a child walking barefoot on clay on what is now Calvert Island beach, northeast of Vancouver Island, according to the authors of the study published in the PLOS ONE Journal.
There were 29 footprints in total. It was found during the excavation works from 2014 to 2016, said lead author Duncan McLaren, a professor of anthropology at the Hakai Institute and the University of Victoria.
The study suggests that humans lived 1
. The discovery reinforces the hypothesis that the first humans to arrive in North America moved from Asia across an ice-free land along the coast to finally arrive in what is now British Columbia
But supporting this hypothesis was not easy for the researchers, as this area of Canada is very rugged as it is covered by dense forest and can only be reached by boat.
The researchers therefore concentrated their excavations in a tidal zone on Calvert Island, where the water level at the end of the Ice Age was two to three meters lower than it is today.
The authors of the study consider these excavations to be possible More sophisticated methods would reveal more footprints and further illuminate the history of the first settlements on the west coast of North America.