90,000 year old human footprints in Morocco…oldest in North Africa

An international research team led by the University of Southern Brittany in France, in partnership with Moroccan, German and Spanish universities, discovered 90,000-year-old human footprints of Homo sapiens in North Africa and the southern Mediterranean in the city of Larache in northern Morocco . The results of the discovery were published last January 23 in the journal “Nature”.

Research team leader Moncef al-Sidrati said in an interview with Al Jazeera Net: “These discovered antiquities join previously discovered antiquities in several areas of Morocco that date from the same era or earlier. They The evidence is of Morocco's diversity and richness, with features characteristic of ancient human life and settlement over centuries.

Footprints of Homo Sapiens discovered in Morocco
Footprints discovered in Morocco provide information about the biology, movement and behavior of individuals in that era of history (Al Jazeera)

footprints of homo sapiens

Human fingerprints, approximately 100,000 years old, left by at least 85 individuals, including children, teenagers and adults, were found on a rocky beach in the city of Larache, according to a press release issued by the University of Southern Brittany in France. On the northwest coast of Morocco. These footprints are mainly oriented towards the sea, giving a surprising picture of what could have been – possibly – the discovery of marine resources by Homo sapiens who lived on the coast of the city of Larache 100 thousand years ago.

Monsef al-Sidrati tells Al-Jazeera Net that “These antiquities were found in July 2022 on the southern rocky coast of the city of Larache, Morocco, and consist of paths and individual antiquities distributed on a rocky surface with an estimated area of ​​1,000 feet. Covering approximately 2,800 square metres, without the presence of any material.” “Ancient archaeological or human artefacts. A recently published scientific study was able to confirm that these remains are indeed the oldest known traces of human footprints in North Africa and the southern Mediterranean. ,

According to the research team, the currently discovered footprints provide direct information about the biology, movement and behavior of the individuals who left them at that era of history in North Africa, and the region in which they were discovered. It is important to know the development. Of hominins.

The research on this discovery took about one and a half years. This scientific study is part of a two-year scientific project on rocky shore dynamics in the Larache area. This scientific project was funded by the Interdisciplinary Higher School of Marine Science. and Technology (ISB) and the University of Southern Brittany. “in France.

Footprints of Homo Sapiens discovered in Morocco
85 human fingerprints of at least 5 children, teenagers and adults were found on a rocky beach in the Moroccan city of Larache (Al Jazeera).

a unique discovery

According to research team leader Moncef Essedrati, this scientific discovery off the coast of Larache is unique and of great importance on a global scale for several reasons, including in particular:

  • Sites with human footprints in Africa are found only in East and Southern Africa, and no sites have been discovered to date in North Africa or the southern Mediterranean. Therefore, the Moroccan site at Larache is the first of its kind in the world.
  • Many of the monuments are in a good state of preservation, which allowed us to conduct this careful study.
  • The age of the antiquities is somewhat unique, they are about 90 thousand years old. These people were along this coast, and we can imagine their physical appearance, size, and age. Unlike archaeological materials that provide information about use, these antiquities provide information about the biology, physical form, and possible activity of these people.
  • The orientation of the ruins perpendicular to the sea indicates that marine resources were being explored.
Footprints of Homo Sapiens discovered in Morocco
Photographs showing variations in the shape of Homo sapiens' footprints to understand foot characteristics, such as rounded heels, big toes, and tips of fingers, as the depth of the foot varies depending on dimensions. The footprint depends on the age of its owner because of the shortness or length of the foot (Al-Jazeera)

According to the research team, North Africa and Morocco in particular provided the first appearance of “Homo sapiens”, especially with the excavation in Mount Irhoud of the oldest Homo sapiens skull in (2017) and the discovery of the ruins of Larache. This constitutes additional evidence of the importance of North Africa, and especially the Moroccan region, in the evolution of Homo sapiens.

The research team also reported in the scientific study that other new footprints will be discovered due to the erosion of sediments on the coast of the city of Larache, and it will be interesting to monitor this erosion to reveal new complementary tracks that can be used to clarify the shape. Can be done for. Hominin groups, and various caves along the coast, are also to be explored. Look for any fossils or traces of stone that may be present south of Larache.

Footprints of Homo Sapiens discovered in Morocco
The discovery of human footprints in Morocco is one of the largest and best preserved sites of the Pleistocene era in the world (Al Jazeera)

The largest archaeological site of the Pleistocene period

Dr. Moncef Al-Sidrati explains that the site of discovery of Homo sapiens footprints in Morocco is one of the largest and best preserved sites of the Pleistocene era in the world, and is the only documented site in North Africa. and the southern Mediterranean Sea, and it provides the distribution of footprints in relation to the coastline of the activities of multi-generational Homo sapiens (children, adolescents and adults) at this site.

He says, “It is essential to preserve this amazing heritage site, even if it is threatened in the short term by sea level rise and storms.” He added, “As the sediments erode, other footprints will be discovered, and so it will be interesting to follow this erosion and make new complementary footprints that will allow us to know more about the group of Homo sapiens that lived in this Larache lived on the coast.”

The site was discovered in July 2022 during a field measurement mission as part of a scientific research project on the origin and dynamics of reefs off the southern coast of the city of Larache in northwestern Morocco.

Moncef al-Sidrati concluded his speech on Al-Jazeera Net by saying: “The time has come to present this discovery to the world in the best possible way, with the utmost accuracy and detail, and we are ready to share it.” “Excited to move forward.” The rest of this amazing story and research in this area must continue by adopting collaborations like this study and international and interdisciplinary collaborations.

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