Researchers on Wednesday published details of the discovery of footprints determined to be 13,000 years old. The prints were found on the shoreline of an island north of Vancouver, and the scientists said they are the oldest ever found in North America.
LiveScience reported that the footprints — 29 in all -- appear to have been made by two barefoot adults and a child. They left the prints in the wet clay near the water’s edge on Calvert Island.
The age of the site is also remarkable, scientists said, and “suggests an early entrance into the Americas,” Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist, said.
The LiveScience report said archeologists were amazed at how well-preserved the footprints were. Scientists were able to determine the sizes of the feet: the child was a junior size 1; while one of the adults wore a woman’s size 3 and the other wore a man’s size 7.
The island today is dense with forests and can be reached only by boat.
Duncan McLaren, an anthropologist at the Hakai Institute and University of Victoria in British Columbia, said in an interview that the find “provides evidence that people were inhabiting the region at the end of the last ice age.”
“It is possible that the coast was one of the means by which people entered the Americas at the time,” he said, according to the New York Times.
Scientists determined the age of the footprints by using radiocarbon.
"Ultimately, the data seem to show indisputable evidence for human presence along the Pacific Coast of Canada," Kevin Hatala, an assistant professor of biology at Chatham University, told Live Science. "This is important because archaeological sites from this time and place have been quite rare."