Oldest human fossils found in Saudi Arabia

According to research released on September 18 (Friday), deep within the realms of Saudi Arabia’s Nefud Desert, lies the oldest human footprints.

The latest discovery, if confirmed, would make known the presence of the oldest humans to have been found in Saudi Arabia.

According to a report by Zee News, across a patch of dry ground in the area hails the oldest human footprints of the country. Though yet to be confirmed, scientists believed that the prints are from the 112,000-120,000 era.

Furthermore, the fossilized footprints give insights into the routes that early modern humans took out of Africa about 5,000 years ago.

Value of the research

As per Sky News, Mathew Stewart from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology said that the footprints suggest the route that ancient homo sapiens might have taken to get out of Africa.

He also added that footprints are the most valued fossil evidence in his file because they provide snapshots in time, representing a few hours or days, hardly ever possible through other fossil records.

Moreover, researchers believe that the footprints belong to the human and not to the Neanderthals, who could not have been in that region at that time.

Reportedly, 233 fossils were also found, including animal fossils of elephants and hippopotamus.

The presence of such large animals and resources like grasslands and freshwater made northern Arabia a preferred region for homo sapiens, added Michael Petraglia, the leader of the research in Saudi Arabia, from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Check out the video below that explains the new findings!

Delay in the research?

Surprisingly, a team of scientists surveying the area in 2017 ignored the signs of fossils, deeming them to be fossils of other species.

It was believed in the earlier time that the Arabian Peninsula had arid and vast deserts, which are not a favorable condition for any species; plant or animal. Hence, ten years ago, a sustainable biosphere existed would not have lived in that area a long time ago.

However, further study says that in the most probable scenario, animals and humans share a common source of food and water, in the form of a shallow lake.

Richard Clark-Wilson, from Royal Holloway of the University of London, said that at specific points in the past, the deserts that dominated the interior of the peninsula transformed into expensive grasslands with permanent freshwaters like lakes and rivers.

Image courtesy of LuFeeTheBear/Shutterstock

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