Bihor cave holds some of the oldest human footprints

What are the oldest human footprints in Europe?

The answer, according to anthropologist David Webb of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and his colleagues, is found in a Romanian cave called Ciur-Izbuc.

 

In 1965, a group of tourists discovered 400 footprints inside the cave. They were initially thought to be about 10,000 years old (which would make them some of the oldest known human footprints in Europe), but recent radiocarbon measurements of two cave bear bones excavated just below these footprints indicate that Homo sapiens made these tracks around 36,500 years ago.

The team analyzed 51 of the remaining footprints and determined that six or seven individuals entered after a flood had coated the floor with sandy mud—including at least one child. The researchers published their findings July 7 in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

These prints are nearly 1 million years older than most other human footprints found in Europe, although nearly 1-million-year-old footprints of modern human ancestors were recently documented at a British site called Happisburgh.

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