Scientists at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa have discovered the oldest trace of Homo sapiens aged 153 thousand years old. This is reported in an article published in the journal Ichnos.
The 153,000-year-old footprint was found in the Garden Route National Park, west of the coastal town of Knysna on the southern coast of the Cape. Two previously dated sites in South Africa, Nahoon and Langebaan, date back about 124 thousand years and 117 thousand years, respectively.
It is noted that by 2023, scientists will have discovered 14 ichnosites (traces of hominid activity) in Africa that are more than 50 thousand years old. They are divided into the East African cluster (5 tracks) and the South African cluster, on the coast of Cape Town (9 tracks). Another 10 are located in other countries, including the United Kingdom and the Arabian Peninsula.
In a new paper, scientists have used optically stimulated luminescence to determine the age of seven ichnosites attributed to Homo sapiens that have been identified over the past five years on the Cape Town coast of South Africa. Stimulated luminescence allows us to determine how long the site has been exposed to sunlight and when it was buried.
It turned out that the traces vary significantly in age, ranging from 71 to 153 thousand years.
This discovery confirms that the southern coast of Cape Town was an area where early anatomically modern humans survived and evolved before they began to move from Africa to other continents.
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