"Ghost" footprints in New Mexico turn out to be 23,000 years old

Originally published at: "Ghost" footprints in New Mexico turn out to be 23,000 years old | Boing Boing

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Also, if a ghost made those footprints 23,000 years ago, that is proof that humans have been here for like 23023 years, because the human had to grow up and die first.

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You know how one can buy polished rock slabs filled with fossils for table tops, counters and such? Well, I was thinking…

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I suspect what happens is the tracks get partially buried/blown over with sand and dirt, and when it rains they show up again (or the sediment on top of them settles down and reveals the outline of the print again).

Edit: So that it seems like “new” tracks are appearing after a rain (in case that wasn’t clear)

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Pedantic earth scientist here: 23k years ago was DURING the last ice age, which makes it even wilder IMO… Alaska was a very inhospitable place then, and there were just small slivers of barren but ice-free land exposed that people could have transited.

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And that’s where these bare-foot, hippy time-travellers decided to park their Chrono-Camper and party.

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Maybe the Ice Age itself was a motivating factor, forcing peoples to spread? Or perhaps it means a species of hominid was already here before the Ice Age? So many good questions… I know the map of human evolution and expansion is one crazy, tangled web and I’m always interested when we glean another piece of the puzzle.

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Humans lived in North America 28,000 years ago, there are lost jungle civilizations that rivalled the finest dynasties of the Middle-East, Asian-Pacific types landed on the shores of the Americas long before Vikings… and Columbus was a total POS.

My White European frailty is not offended at these new ideas, I’m excited what discoveries are yet to be made in South America.

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It is frankly amazing that this discovery is so recent. All the locals are basically trained to look for these kinds of tracks from like the 2nd grade via field trips to the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument.

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One hypothesis is that people came to the Americas by boat, not by land, following the shoreline along the so-called “kelp highway”.

Also, it is my understanding that the region called Beringia was relatively ice-free during the ice ages.
https://www.nps.gov/articles/aps-v12-i2-c8.htm

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In 1986, there were finds NW Oklahoma that indicated evidence of human habitation somewhere in the range of 28,000 to 32,000 years ago. I hope this find in NM serves as vindication for Dr. Wyckoff. He had expressed that on some level that he wished he had never found the stuff because of the backlash he received from the scientific community. He always stood behind his science and methods, despite his many naysayers.

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From the article:

The ancient footprints at White Sands answer that question, suggesting that they may have arrived up to 30,000 years ago, thousands of years before the height of the ice age…

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Ars posted an article on this, essentially covering the same ground, but the comment section is quite educational. Ars and BB are the only sites I have seen with comment sections that I don’t feel dumber for having read!

23,000-year-old footprints suggest people reached the Americas early | Ars Technica

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Back in my college days, it was extremely controversial to suggest that the obvious evidence of human settlements before about 15k years ago was, in fact, obvious evidence, but apparently there was an entire generation of somewhat racist and ethnoindignant anthropologists who had to die off before said evidence could be brought out of storage and actually examined. One professor even spelled it out: any pre-Columbian human remains had to be turned over to whatever indigenous group was in the area, and often would refuse any scientific analysis on the basis that any findings would once again be used against them to take away their lands, charcoal was always attributed by the skeptical to forest fires, and the primitive stone tools found were little more than broken rocks, allowing for the possibility that they could have been naturally formed. Add in that the Americas were huge, and the starting population tiny, thousands at most, and for a very long time would have been hunting animals that had no fear of humans, or had ever faced even primitive spears, torches, and raw human intelligence.
Now that we’re ready for it, we know about the inland passage, the coastal passage, what’s probably genetic crossovers from some very lost Polynesians, pacific coastal and near-shore island settlements, and the lot.

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Controversies…

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From a couple of years ago

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature22065

https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70192834

The abstract begins

The earliest dispersal of humans into North America is a contentious subject, and proposed early sites are required to meet the following criteria for acceptance: (1) archaeological evidence is found in a clearly defined and undisturbed geologic context; (2) age is determined by reliable radiometric dating; (3) multiple lines of evidence from interdisciplinary studies provide consistent results; and (4) unquestionable artefacts are found in primary context1,2.

which is good advice for assessing these sorts of claims.

Anyway, the authors describe 130,000 year old butchered mastadons in California. Since genetic analysis suggest that modern humans didn’t migrate out of africa before 50,000 to 80,000 years ago, this presented somewhat of a quandary.

edit:

some blame construction equipment:

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Apparently, human intelligence is best when stir-fried with some hot sauce.

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