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Human Footprints Found with 19,000 Years!

Volcanoes are paradoxical things. They tend to destroy everything in their path when they erupt, but after the ash has settled, they are surprisingly good at preserving archaeological remains – at least, those not consumed by the fire.

Pompeii and Herculaneum are great examples, but as reported in a stunning paper in the cacophonously-named journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, human footprints can also be frozen in time. At a newly discovered site in Tanzania, right next to the world’s weirdest volcano, a team of researchers stumbled across a whopping 400 of them. Radiocarbon dating has proven to be quite tricky here – the best date range the researchers can give is that these footprints are anywhere from 5,800 to 19,100 years old.

The former coincides with a time when agriculture was developing and organized human civilizations were beginning to crop up around the world. The latter would place these ancient humans as being in the throes of the last glacial maximum.

The tracks reveal that, once upon a time, an enormous gathering of people were crisscrossing the region, with many of them migrating towards an unknown destination to the southwest. Some of these long-gone Homo sapiens were moving at a brisk walking pace, while others appeared to be jogging.

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