According tomedia reports, you can learn a lot about a person by walking — apparently, even 10,000 years ago. In New Mexico, researchers have discovered what they say is the longest known fossil of a human footprint, stretching 1.5 kilometers. The footprints are understood to have been kept on a dry old lake bed in White Sands National Park, New Mexico.
The area is famous for its scattered footprints of thousands of ice age animals, including mammoths, giant sloths, saber-toothed tigers, wolves, bison, camels and, of course, humans.
The footprints of the last animal caught the researchers’ attention. Not only are they the longest human fossil footprints ever discovered, but they are also so well preserved that scientists can infer so much detail about the story behind them.
The researchers say the person who left these footprints is most likely a woman, but may also be a adolescent male. With a child, they left in a hurry and returned a few hours later, but did not take the child with them on the return journey.
The researchers used the small size of the footprints to determine who left them. Their walking speed can be estimated by the distance between the footprints — the footprint makers walk more than 1.7 meters per second, which is much faster than the normal walking speed of 1.2 to 1.5 meters. The footprints extend roughly in a straight line, indicating that the person is heading for a particular place.
The child’s footprints also appear at different locations along the route, perhaps because the person holding him stops from time to time to put them down. In terms of size, the child may not be as old as two years old. The researchers can even see the effects of walking with a child in their arms — the footprints take on more “banana shapes” as the adults’ feet slide and rotate outwards under extra weight.
Interestingly, there is also a set of footprints in the opposite direction, which appear to have been completed within hours of the first walk. They are narrower and more consistent, indicating that this time they are walking alone. So where’s the kid? Obviously, this part of the story is unable to find clues from the footprints. But anyway, the other animals seemed to have gone out that day. Two groups of animals – mammoths and sloth footprints – were also found in the footprints.
It is surprising to infer such a detailed story from footprints some ten thousand years ago. Although you may never know what’s going on with this trip, the wonderful feeling it brings is endless.