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40,000 Year Old Footprints Found

Geologists have found human footprints in volcanic rock in Mexico that is 40,000 years old. These are some of the oldest human footprints ever found. Looking at them brings forth the amazing revelation that humans just like us once walked here.

The footprints were probably made when early hunters walked across ash that had recently been thrown up near a lake by volcanoes that are still active in the Puebla, Mexico area. Over thousands of years, the footprints, and the ash they were in, turned to rock.

Geologist Paul Renne says, "You're really only left with two possibilities. One is that they are really old hominids?shockingly old?or they're not footprints." Rock can usually not be successfully carbon-dated, because Carbon-14 cannot reliably date materials older than about 50,000 years, but Renne was able to get an estimated date for the footprints by using a new argon dating technique, which can date rock as young as 2,000 years or as old as 4 billion years. Other researchers used the older carbon-14 method of testing on the sediments present on top of the rock.

The researchers say they have found a total of 250 footprints, including those of a dog, a cat and cloven-hoofed animals (perhaps goats). The oldest human fossil in the Americas is an 11,500-year-old skull.

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