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Coastlines around world boast hints of ancient humans who gathered traveled along edges of world where land meets sea

Hakai Magazine – Where Our Human Ancestors Made an Impression: “Human tracks encode a startling amount of information, enough for scientists to create a brief, but illuminating, biography of a person or group of people. The average person takes an estimated 224,000,000 steps over the course of a lifetime. When preserved, footprints are a library of clues about a human’s activities, speed of travel, height, weight, and sometimes even sex. They are, however, remarkably rare in the archaeological record. At a conference in Cologne, Germany, last year, researchers from around the world gathered to compare notes on some of the most prominent finds. Some of the sites were well known: prehistoric human tracks have been found on fossilized lakebeds in Saudi Arabia, deep inside caves in France, and pressed into the ground in Tanzania. The oldest ever found, made by a group of early hominins walking through wet volcanic ash in present-day Tanzania, date back 3.6 million years. In the past few years, researchers have found them in unexpected places scattered around the world: modern beaches. Finding ancient footprints in such a dynamic environment seems counterintuitive. Is there anything more ephemeral, after all, than footprints in the sand? You’d think that the action of waves and wind would wipe footprints away quickly. But, in 2012, massive storms in Wales revealed fossilized forests—and the footprints of a child, facing a prehistoric sea. In 2013, researchers stumbled across the 800,000-year-old tracks left behind by children and adults, a small family perhaps, playing on a windswept English beach. The following year, researchers working on British Columbia’s Calvert Island found footprints dating back to the earliest days of human presence in the Americas. The one thing they all have in common is proximity to the ocean…”

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