29 fossil prints provide rare evidence of early New World settlers’ coastal travels
D. McLaren et al/PLOS ONE 2018
People who reached what’s now Canada’s Pacific coast around 13,000 years ago made some lasting impressions — with their feet.
Beach excavations on Calvert Island, off British Columbia’s coast, revealed 29 human footprints preserved in clay-based sediment, says a team led by archaeologist Duncan McLaren. About 60 centimeters below the sandy surface, the deposits contained the footprints of at least three individuals, the Canada-based researchers report March 28 in PLOS ONE.
Smudged remains of many more footprints surrounded these discoveries. Ancient people walking on the shoreline apparently trampled those footprints and distorted their shapes, the scientists say.
Radiocarbon dating of bits of wood from shore pine trees found in the clay sediment narrowed the age of the footprints from 13,317 to 12,633 years old. Who these footprints belonged to is unknown. Their arrival