Discovery of human footprints more than 100000 years old in

Discovery of human footprints more than 100,000 years old in Morocco

More than 80 human footprints dating back about 100,000 years have been found on the coast of northern Morocco. Researchers consider them to be the oldest known in North Africa and the southern Mediterranean.

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These Homo sapiens footprints, left by at least five people, including children, and revealed to AFP on Monday, were discovered in Larache, 90 km south of Tangier, in 2022 by a team of Moroccans, French, Spanish and Germans.

“This group of people crossed the beach towards the sea, probably looking for food and shellfish, they were probably fishermen or collectors,” Anass Sedrati, curator of the Lixus-Larache archaeological site, told AFP.

According to these researchers, whose study was published in January in the journal Nature, it is one of the best-preserved sites of human traces in the world and the oldest in North Africa and the southern Mediterranean.

“This discovery was made during a field measurement mission in July 2022 as part of a scientific research project on the origin and dynamics of the boulders (boulders) littering the coast,” explain the researchers led by the French University of Bretagne Sud.

In 2017, remains of Homo sapiens were unearthed at another site in northwest Morocco and were dated by researchers to be 300,000 years old, pushing back the estimated origin of our species by 100,000 years.

The discovery of the footprints in Larache is further evidence of the importance of this region in the history of the human species, Anass Sedrati noted to AFP, pointing out that animal tracks had also been discovered.

“We must preserve this remarkable cultural heritage, even if it is threatened by rising sea levels and storms,” says Mouncef Sedrati, head of the research project.

“In the short term, more footprints will be discovered as the sediments erode,” this official said. “It would therefore be interesting to trace this erosion and discover new complementary traces that would provide more details about the group of Homo sapiens that lived or were resident on this Larach coast.”