90,000-year-old footprints found
February 2, 2024 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Scientists race against tides to discover why 90,000-year-old footprints were made. Scientists believe footprints that were accidentally found on a Moroccan beach were made by five modern humans 90,000 years ago. The team studied the 85 footprints using optically stimulated luminescence. It's a dating method that establishes the last time specific minerals were exposed to heat or sunlight. The technique dated these footprints to the Late Pleistocene period. This era, between 11,700 and 129,000 years ago, is commonly known as the Ice Age, when glaciers covered large parts of the Earth.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries (7 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I love this! Thank you for sharing!
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 8:49 AM on February 2

this is very cool
posted by supermedusa at 8:54 AM on February 2

Eighty-five is so many footprints!! That is so rad.
posted by Suedeltica at 9:13 AM on February 2

<snark mode>Why were they made? Because they were walking!</snark mode>

Ok, snark over.. this is very cool. Just like the news from a few weeks back about 7,000+ year old fishing traps and footprints found in the Severn Estuary. To find such tangible evidence of a time long lost to memory is humbling. We've been walking, fretting, loving, fighting, being great and awful for a long damn time.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:23 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]

Exciting find!

And that's where our ancestors carried us.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:25 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]

Scientists believe footprints ... were made by five modern humans 90,000 years ago.

So...time travelers, then?
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:59 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]

See also the Happisburgh footprints on the eroding East Coast of England appeared, were identified, measured, photographed, and disappeared between storms in 2013. They were estimated to be 10x older than these Moroccan arrivistes. Archaic, not modern, so. With a trace fossil, but fleetingly present to boot as well, nobody seems to ID the species, so I'm saying Homo erectus (Dubois). But it's not too late to claim it as Homo conservativensis.
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:24 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]

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