(CNN) – A team of scientists in Chile says they have found a human footprint more than 15,000 years old – the oldest ever found in America.
Timeline and map of human migration to South America. Most available evidence indicates that humans reached the Patagonia region at the southern tip of South America only 12,000 years ago, said Karen Moreno, one of the co-authors of the study, to CNN.
The footprint was found in 2010 at a palaeo-archeological site in the city of Osorno in the south of the country on the edge of the country, a townhouse development. But it took years for scientists to confirm the age of the fossil through carbon dating.
Scientists were made aware of the wealth of the area after construction workers dug building houses and began digging buried treasures beneath the surface.
A Since 1986, there has been a new wave of research that has revealed the remains of large animals, from mastodons to horses, to a paleo lama, a larger lama species that is now extinct.
But the ancient human footprint was perhaps the biggest prize.
Confirmation of the age of the footprint lasted eight years.
Moreno's colleague Mario Pino discovered the footprint shortly before Christmas in 2010.
The Accuracy With the age of the footprint, the team used radiocarbon dating techniques to determine the age of wood, seeds and bones that was found around the impression. They also found evidence of primitive stone tools around the fossil.
They identified the species as Hominipes modernus, which is closely related to Homo sapiens.
The organic footprint experiments produced a number of possible dates, with a mean age of about 15,600 years.
However, more than eight years elapsed between finding the footprint and publishing confirmation of his age. Moreno said the team spent this time "trying to convince our colleagues that this was a footprint."
Over time, the evidence became indisputable, she said. "We confirmed it, checked it and checked it again."
Moreno said there are "many difficulties" in convincing colleagues how it is possible that humans were in the region 3,000 years earlier than previous traces of the Clovis nomadic culture that existed in the area.
Finally, the peer reviewers were satisfied.
The find writes the card for the migration of people
It took millions of years for human feet to reach America. They eventually crossed the Bering Strait from present-day Russia to Alaska during the last Ice Age.
"If we have evidence of humans even then, we need to find out how they got there," Moreno said. 19659003] But many of these evidences, if they exist, are now probably on the ocean floor. The sea level was lower 15,000 years ago.
"Most of the evidence is submerged or eroded by glaciers," Moreno said.