Discovery of 120,000 years old human footprints in Saudi Arabia spark curiosity

Researchers think that the footprints belong to modern humans rather than Neanderthals, who aren't known to have been in the region at the time.

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Footprints belonging to humans have been discovered in Saudi Arabia. According to sources, the set of seven human footprints are 120,000 years old. They were found near an ancient dry lake in the northern area of Tabuk, and are the earliest evidence of humans in the Arabian peninsula.

What the experts believe

Experts are of the view that these footprints are of at least two people, and they can help understand the routes taken by humans out of Africa.

The new research suggests that ‘inland routes, following lakes and rivers’ may have been important to humans while leaving the continent.

According to a member of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Mathew Stewart, the footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence. They provide snapshots in time and represent a few hours or days, a resolution that is not possible to get from other records.

Researchers think that the footprints belong to modern humans rather than neanderthals, who aren’t known to have been in the region at the time.

“We know that humans were visiting this lake at the same time these animals were, and, unusually for the area, there are no stone tools”, said Mr. Stewart.

He added that these people were probably visiting the lake for water resources and to forage at the same time as animals.

Footprints of elephants and other animals were also found, along with 233 fossils.

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