CANBERRA, Australia – Hundreds of human footprints dating back to the last Ice Age have been found in the remote Australian Outback, an official and media reported Thursday.
The 457 footprints found in Mungo National Park in western New South Wales state is the largest collection of its kind in the world and the oldest in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.
The prints were made in moist clay near the Willandra Lakes 19,000 to 23,000 years ago, the newspaper reported ahead of archeologists' report on the find to be published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
State Environment Minister Bob Debus said the site showed a large group of people walking and interacting.
"We see children running between the tracks of their parents; the children running in meandering circles as their parents travel in direct lines," Debus told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
"It's a most extraordinary snapshot of a moment or several moments in the life of Aboriginal people living on the edge of the lake in western New South Wales 20,000 years ago," he added.
The first print was reported by a local Aboriginal woman two years ago and a team of archaeologists led by Bond University archaeologist Steve Webb uncovered more than 450, the newspaper said.
Webb was not immediately available for comment.