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Evidence for humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum

September 23, 2021

Archaeologists and researchers in allied fields have long sought to understand human colonization of North America. When, how, and from where did people migrate, and what were the consequences of their arrival for the established fauna and landscape are enduring questions. Here, we present evidence from excavated surfaces of in situ human footprints from White Sands National Park (New Mexico, USA), where multiple human footprints are stratigraphically constrained and bracketed by seed layers that yield calibrated ages between ~23 and 21 ka. These findings confirm the presence of humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum, adding evidence to the antiquity of human colonization of the Americas, and provide a temporal range extension for the co-existence of early inhabitants and Pleistocene megafauna.