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A pair of fossilised human footprints have recently been discovered in Saudi Arabia. One might think what is new about its novelty… in fact, these footprints are nearly 120,000 years old! From these fossilised footprints, the scientists have deciphered pieces of new information that had not been found in any other fossil in the past…

The Saudi Government has confirmed the news, saying in a statement that the Researchers discovered seven fossilised hominine footprints, exposed by sediment erosion, during a survey of ancient Alathar Lake near Tabuk in Nefud Desert. The Researchers believe that it is the earliest evidence of human movements in the Arabian Peninsula. According to them, these footprints bear the mark of two people roaming near the lake…

From these footprints, experts are trying to discover the direction of the movements of the people in those days. Mathew Stewart, the Lead Researcher from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, said: “Footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence in that they provide snapshots in time, typically representing a few hours or days, a resolution we tend not (to) get from other records.” Talking to the local media in Riyadh, he also said that both human beings and animals used to come to this lake for drinking water at that period of time. According to Stewart, among the 376 ancient shapes found around Alathar Lake, some are animal footprints, including prints belonging to horses, camels and elephants. It is to be noted that elephants had reportedly gone extinct in the Levant (an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia) around 400,000 years ago…

Elephant (left) and camel (right) trackways were discovered

The German Researcher stated that humid conditions existed in the Arab World 120,000 years ago, facilitating human and animal movement across the region that was comprised of deserts! Perhaps, these conditions helped those human beings migrate from Africa to the Arab World. “It is only after the last interglacial period with the return of cooler conditions that we have definitive evidence for Neanderthals moving into the region. The footprints, therefore, most likely represent humans, or Homo sapiens,” stressed Stewart.

After studying the dense concentration of tracks, the Researchers have come to know that animals used to gather around the lake because of dry conditions and lowering water level in the region. And, humans could have used the area for water and foraging. “We know people visited the lake, but the lack of stone tools, or evidence of the use of animal carcasses suggests that their visit to the lake was only brief,” said Stewart.

Alathar Lake

History, it seems, has kept quite a bit of secrets in its own self…

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