March 29 (UPI) — Researchers have uncovered 29 human footprints from around 13,000 years ago off Canada’s Pacific coast.
Scientists from the Hakai Institute and University of Victoria, Canada, believe humans were present on the west coast of British Columbia as it emerged from the most recent ice age, which ended around 11,700 years ago.
Their findings were published Wednesday in the Public Library of Science’s journal Plos One.
“This finding provides evidence of the seafaring people who inhabited this area during the tail end of the last major ice age,” lead author Duncan McLaren of Hakai Institute in British Columbia said in a Public Library of Science, said in a press release.
The research team excavated intertidal beach sediments on the shoreline of Calvert Island, British Columbia. They are a few feet lower today than they were at the end of the last ice age. The human footprints of at least three different sizes were radiocarbon dated to be around 13,000 years old.
By measuring and using digital photographic analyses, researchers believe they belong to two adults and a child, all barefoot.
Humans are believed to have moved into the Americas from Asia across what was then a land bridge to North America. They eventually reached what is now the west coast of British Columbia, Canada and coastal regions to the south.
Few late Pleistocene archaeological sites are known on Canada’s Pacific coast. Until recently, the oldest known site in British Columbia was the Charlie Lake Cave site.
“The results presented here add to the growing body of information pertaining to the early deglaciation and associated human presence on the west coast of Canada at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum,” the researchers wrote in the study.