The earliest human footprints in Arabia


Now, we have contributing correspondent and gibbons. She wrote this week about the likely earliest human footprints on the Arabian Peninsula high an hi Sarah how old or how early are these footprints but that's a good question. They threw a whole package of dating methods at them and came up with in the Ballpark of twenty, one, thousand, two, hundred, and ten, thousand years old. Now the dates are not absolute. There's some questions about them, but that's a pretty good ballpark. How does this age compare to previous hints or clues that humans modern humans early modern humans were on the Arabian Peninsula. Here's the. We know that early hominids members of human family have been migrating out of Africa for two million years because we find fossils of our ancestors in the public of Georgia we find them in. Asia. We find them in Eurasia place, but we don't know how they got out and the most logical route is they had to walk through Rabia because they couldn't fly. They couldn't paddleboats a at that point the one landmass in the way between Africa where humans arose originally, our ancestors arose and Eurasia is through Arabia. So we know they had to go through there, but there's a huge gap there are. No tools older than three hundred to five, hundred, thousand years, and what is there is not definitive. The only fossil have a member of the human family from Arabia is a finger bone that is about eighty eight, thousand years old. So the mystery is, where's the evidence of members of the human family marching through Arabia, and then the second part of that is modern humans specifically, our ancestors Homo sapiens arose probably in Africa, because we see fossils in the ballpark of one, hundred, eight, thousand, three, hundred, thousand years of Proto early Homo, sapiens arising and Africa, and then we find more of these sort. Of Early Homo Sapiens in Greece dating possibly back to as early as two hundred and ten thousand. So we know that they got out right now we're just trying to find evidence. Is there something that going on in the Arabian Peninsula that either people didn't want to hang out there for very long or that erased a lot of evidence. Reagan. Peninsula, has covered with desert's it's very dry today the food desert where they found these fossils is parched arid but there were periods in the past where the planet was cooler and wetter, and during those times hundred, twenty, five, thousand years ago it was. One of them, it was green radio was covered with tens of thousands of lakes. They were grasslands between them. If you think about these early human ancestors, it's not a separate continent or a separate place for them to go to its Afro Arabia, right? Yeah. So it's an extension of Africa if the client is good and they're following large game, how were they able to find these footprints? This is a very large area and it's a few remnants of human passing through. Yes. So this team will have by Michael, Leah and it's an international team of Saudi Arabians in a number of people on. Has Been doing a search of scouring the deserts of. Arabia. For the last decade, they start with satellite imagery which helps them see parched ancient lake beds which have sort of characteristic white halio souls often these ancient sediments that stand out in the satellites and then go down to ground truth what they see on the satellites, an airplane shots they go in on foot in jeeps, and in this case they saw this ancient. Lake better rolling out as white sediment. It had just been recently exposed by Rosen and they found the footprints of the animals which was amazing and as I looked closer to one hundreds of footprints, it was four hundred mostly animals but they did identify a small number. It was seven that seemed to be human footprints. So they knew right away they were very excited about that that this was something that was important how Can you tell that they're human footprints and not some other upright walking relative? There's not a whole science of studying human footprints ever since the first ones are found in la totally in Tanzania and Kenya there've been a number of footprints that have been studied people use three D morphometric dimensional analysis with computational imaging or can really look at the depth and they could model how much weight would have been needed to make. That footprint, the length of the foot, the stride between the steps, and then they've done studies living people in their footprints in Africa to sort of test out those ideas and Lo, and behold when they do that to these footprints, they seem to come up with somebody kind of humor that was taller and maybe a little lighter weight more like a modern human of Homo sapiens and say an Andrew Tall so based on that. They say, Oh, these probably were made by Homo sapiens although we cannot rule out that nanotubes might have been there to is there anything else can tell about these people by looking at these marks I think if they get more, they can start to tell about their social structure footprint studies in Africa. I've got quite complicated where you could see the direction that they're going in the payson different members of social groups you can. To see what they are the packs of humans look like you know, what size are they how many are in these groups? What are they doing a lot of the way in this case, they're not spending a lotta time. They're just sort of walking through. This is a bantering group. What is really really cool. Though is that footprint site these are a snapshot of a single moment in time a single day most of the. Time when you have an archaeological site in a layer soil that you get the fossils of the tools and the dates, all that took place. This fan is usually hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands of years. So if you find an animal bone near a prominent human early Human Boehner tool, you don't necessarily know fear there at the same time as parch with footprints like these these were lay down in the same day maybe. A couple of days and they dried out and then got caught up in preserved. So we know they were all there at the same time. So you get this really cool day in the life look at the and of the animals they were with, which is really cool in this case and lots of animals. Yes. Almost four hundred footprints of animals including very interesting. A wild asses which I don't think we're carrying burdens but. That's kind of neat and they were elephants and the thing that's interesting about the elephants as their popular disappeared for the Middle East, just in Africa. Thanks for three hundred years ago and here they are in hundred twenty, thousand in Arabia and the camps they also Campbell's it's kind of interesting that such large animals with Aaron. It begs the question were these humans following them where they attracted them. Going back to the, we talked about it being about one, hundred, twenty, thousand years old. There's some question about the date but if that were cracked, is there anything particularly Gordon about this time human history about what we know about migrations that we could link these prince two? Yes. So what is really interesting is that genetic evidence says that everybody outside of Africa. Came from migrations that happened in the last fifty to eighty thousand years. So this state predates that we happen to know that early Homo Sapiens were in the Middle East pretty quickly after this or at the same time they're fossils in caves. At school and cough so that our early sort of product Homo sapiens. So we know humans are at sorta suggests that because we don't have DNA that dates back this early these were failed migrations. These were members of the human family that went out they weren't shelled migrations for them they lived, but they did not contribute to the gene pool of letting people today that's one hypothesis but it also shows that there's more complex story of groups of humans migrating out of Africa constantly whenever the weather excitement is right that it's three to nothing that they can get water follow animals to meet and trek. Africa. They can cross the desert. It looks like humans were doing that whenever they could and so how do they contribute tour ancestry today a really interesting question and how many different kinds of hominids out there. Thank you so much an thank you. Sir,

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