History | STEPPING BACK IN TIME | October 9, 2021
Footprints made thousands of years ago in White Sands National Park in New Mexico have been analyzed by scientists and confirm that humans lived in North America 5,000 years earlier than previously believed.
Researchers say the fossilized footprints are between 21,000 and 23,000 years old. They were preserved in the mud of an ancient lakeshore, per the findings that were published last month in the journal Science.
Hundreds of thousands of footprints have been found across 125 square miles of the park. One path reveals people hunting a giant sloth, and another path shows a woman walking with a toddler.
To add to this fascinating find, researchers also discovered ancient grass seeds. They were able to estimate the age of the prints by measuring the carbon in those seeds.
Culture | GOLDEN OLDIE | October 12, 2021
It was 90 years ago in France that an amazing discovery was found – a conch shell that is now thought to be the oldest of its kind. Researchers estimate that it’s about 18,000 years old – and it is believed to have been used as a musical instrument.
The shell was found in a cave in France’s Pyrenees region in 1931. Archaeologists thought it was an ancient cup. For decades, it sat in a natural history museum in the city of Toulouse. But recently, researchers took a fresh look at the shell. They found that the tip had been broken off to make a mouthpiece and sound holes had been added. When you blow into it, the shell can play three clear notes.
Rasoul Morteza, a composer in Canada, has studied the sounds produced by shells. “It’s amazing when there’s an object forgotten somewhere,” he says, “and suddenly, it comes again into the light.”
History | ICE AGE ARTWORK | October 13, 2021
A large display of ancient rock art was discovered by British and Colombian archaeologists, known widely as the Serranía La Lindosa paintings.
Tens of thousands of paintings created with red mineral pigment, reported to extend over eight miles of rock, were found on cliff faces in the Colombian Amazon rainforest in what is now Colombia’s largest national park, Chiribiquete. The drawings are believed to be over 12,000 years old. They provide further proof that the rainforest’s earliest inhabitants lived alongside Ice Age animals as many of the drawings depict such creatures as mastodons, paleolama, and ice-age horses. The archaeologists made this discovery in 2019 but kept it secret until now, ahead of the rock art’s debut in an upcoming documentary.