A team of researchers have come across huge footprints, now buried under the ground, in New Mexico (the US) with the help of a special radar. After analysing those footprints, they have come to a decision that those are Ice Age footprints! The researchers have claimed that those 12,000-year-old giant footprints would help get more information about ancient period…
Lead Researcher Matthew Bennett of Bournemouth University has said that the footprints will reveal the activities of humans, as well as animals, at that time. In a research paper published by Cornell University, Thomas Urban (of Cornell University) and Bennett mentioned that the fossilised footprints, found near a dry lake bed in White Sands National Monument, are of Proboscidea (mammoth), Folivora (giant ground sloth), Carnivora (canid and felid), Artiodactyla (bovid and camelid), and humans.
The footprints have ushered in the story of an extraordinary interaction between humans and ground sloths nearly 10,000-15,000 years ago. Human footprints superimposed on the prints of the giant sloths allow the researchers realise how people carefully stalked the beast. The sloth’s trail suggests that it initiated a series of evasive manoeuvres and even reared up on its hind legs in order to defend itself. However, it is still not known exactly why giant sloths went extinct. Human hunting may have contributed to their demise… the researchers are not very sure about it.
Researchers believe that these fossils will also give a clear idea about the physical structures and weights of Ice Age animals and humans. The scans even revealed variations of pressure across the footprints. “It is this last bit which is perhaps the most important aspect,” explained Bennett.
According to Urban and Bennett, the data indicate that humans walked north first, and then the mammoth walked west, stepping on one of the human footprints. Later, the humans walked south, parallel to the earlier tracks, and then stepped into one of the mammoth prints. Interestingly, all these happened within a short time span.
Urban is of the opinion that the ground-penetrating radar may help find dinosaur and human footprints in many places. “It is the equivalent to taking an extinct animal, bringing it back to life, taking it to the bio-chemic lab and getting it to walk on a pressure plate,” read the article.
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