(ORDO NEWS) — Traces on the sand are washed away by the sea surf instantly – what is it, if not a symbol of the transience of our life?
However, not always. Scientists have found human footprints on a beach in Spain, which are almost 300 thousand years old!
There are still more questions than answers. But one thing is clear – our distant ancestors also loved the beach and the warm sea. And in this we are similar to them.
Spain, its very south – Andalusia. Coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Matalascañas beach, in the province of Huelva, not far from the Guadalquivir river praised by Pushkin. A popular place with tourists. Well, primitive people had good taste!
They lived here 295 thousand years ago – such a result was obtained by anthropologist Eduardo Mayoral from the University of Huelva and researcher from the University of Seville Jorge Rivera using optically stimulated luminescent dating.
Most likely, they were not even Neanderthals, but representatives of some other kind of primitive people.
The very discovery of many ancient human footprints – more than three hundred! – at one time, in 2020, it became a scientific sensation.
Nowhere else in the world is there such a quantity and such good preservation. Fossil prints are clearly visible in the sedimentary rocks of the cliffs of El Asperillo.
However, scientists then suggested that the traces were about a hundred thousand years old. It turned out to be three times more. And this makes the tracks in Matalascañas even more mysterious. They have no peers.
There are older ones – found in Terra Amata on the Cote d’Azur in France and Roccamonfin in Italy, they are 380 – 345 thousand years old. If more recent – in Beach-Saint-Vaast in France, they are 236 thousand years old.
Adults and children walked along the seashore. The size of the legs is from 14 to 29 cm. Moreover, the prints of adult legs go in a straight line. And children – out of order: they jumped, played and fooled around.
Who left them? There are several hypotheses. Maybe Neanderthals. Or Homo heidelbergensis – another extinct human species. Or representatives of another, yet unknown species. Beach man. Why not?
Although it would be a stretch: 300 thousand years ago the sea level was 60 meters lower than it is now. And the coastline was 20 km from the current beach.
Most likely, ancient people settled in a fertile green valley near the ocean. Their neighbors were forest elephants, wild bulls and wild boars, whose traces have also survived to this day.
What else intrigues scientists: the Spanish traces were left at a critical time for the climate. The warm epoch was pumped, ahead was the ice age. It’s time to move south. Maybe it was climate change that brought this tribe here?
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