February 22, 2024

In a groundbreaking archaeological discovery, researchers in Morocco have uncovered over 80 human footprints dating back approximately 100,000 years, believed to be the oldest in North Africa. The remarkable find, located on the coast of Larache, sheds new light on the early movements and activities of Homo sapiens in the region.

Led by archaeologists from Morocco, Spain, France, and Germany, the team unearthed footprints left by at least five individuals, including children, suggesting a group of early humans traversing the beach in search of food and shellfish. Anass Sedrati, curator at the archaeological site of Lixus Larache, described the group as likely fishermen or gatherers, offering a glimpse into their daily lives and activities.

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Published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the study hailed the footprints as some of the best-preserved human traces worldwide, marking a significant milestone in understanding human history in North Africa and the southern Mediterranean. The discovery underscores the region’s pivotal role in the origins and evolution of Homo sapiens.

The significance of the find extends beyond its age, with researchers emphasizing the importance of preserving the site amidst threats from rising sea levels and storms. Mouncef Sedrati, head of the research project, stressed the need to safeguard this remarkable heritage site for future generations, recognizing its value in unraveling the mysteries of human history.

Moreover, the discovery hints at the potential for further revelations as sediment erosion continues along the coastline. Anass Sedrati expressed optimism about uncovering additional traces that could provide invaluable insights into the lives and behaviors of early Homo sapiens along the Moroccan coast.

This latest breakthrough builds upon previous archaeological findings in the region, including the discovery of Homo sapiens remains dating back 300,000 years in northwest Morocco in 2017. Together, these discoveries paint a rich tapestry of human presence and activity in North Africa, pushing back the estimated origin of our species and offering tantalizing clues about our evolutionary journey.

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