Daily Archives: April 9, 2010

Intertidal Footprints

6,000 year old human footprint from intertidal sediments near Liverpool. Source: http://www.eyes-and-ears.co.uk

I know of three sites in the world where human footprints more than 5,000 years old are preserved in the intertidal zone: one in Northwestern England, and two in Southeastern Argentina.   These are exceptionally fragile sites – the English ones are often only visible for a single tide cycle.  All three sites find humans co-occurring with other species – Aurochs, canids, birds in England, and a large variety of fauna in Argentina, including extinct megafauna such as giant ground sloths (in both bipedal and quadruped mode) and glyptodonts (a sort of giant armadillo) among other species.  The prints range from single impressions to the trails of individuals walking or running, to clusters of several hundred distinct prints of all ages, to the distinctive prints of playful, gambolling children.

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