Fossilized Tracks Show Woman And Child's Dangerous Journey
An amazing trove of fossilized footprints in New Mexico tells the harrowing story of a woman and a 2-year-old child's dangerous journey around 13,000 years ago.
WHITE SANDS NATIONAL PARK, NEW MEXICO — An amazing trove of fossilized footprints in New Mexico tells the harrowing story of a woman and a 2-year-old child's dangerous journey around 13,000 years ago. This according to a study published in Quaternary Science Reviews.
Scientists who analyzed the footprints can see that the woman was carrying the child most of the way, and that she was walking very fast and very straight in muddy sludge. She later returned the same way, this time without the child.
After studying the 1.5-kilometer-long track of fossils, the researchers concluded that the woman must have been walking fast because of the many dangerous animals that frequented the area — including saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, and mammoths.
In fact, a remarkable set of footprints shows that a group of mammoths and a giant sloth stepped into her tracks in the period between her first and second trip. Amazingly, she then stepped into the tracks of these extinct animals on her way back.
The mammoths appeared to have been oblivious to her track, as they just strode over it, but the giant sloth's reactions amazed scientists. The study says the sloth stopped over the human's track and then reared on its hind legs.
In the words of the study: "As the animal approached the trackway, it appears to have reared up on its hind legs to catch the scent — pausing by turning and trampling the human tracks before dropping to all fours and making off. It was aware of the danger."
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