120,000-year-old human footprints found in Saudi Arabia

Sets of 120,000-year-old footprints belonging to humans have been discovered in Saudi Arabia.

The set of seven human footprints, found around an ancient dry lake in the northern region of Tabuk, are the earliest evidence of humans in the Arabian peninsula.

Experts believe they are the footprints of at least two people, and say they could help understand the routes taken by humans out of Africa.

The new research suggests “inland routes, following lakes and rivers, may have been particularly important to humans” leaving the continent, according to Mathew Stewart from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

He added: “Footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence in that they provide snapshots in time, typically representing a few hours or days, a resolution we tend not to get from other records.”

The researchers think the footprints belong to modern humans, on the basis of stature and mass inferred from them, rather than Neanderthals, who aren’t known to have been in the region at the time.

Mr Stewart said: “We know that humans were visiting this lake at the same time these animals were, and, unusually for the area, there’s no stone tools.

Courtesy: Aisha Zahid, Sky News