From the University of California –Berkeley press release:
Alleged footprints of early Americans found in volcanic rock in Mexico are either extremely old - more than 1 million years older than other evidence of human presence in the Western Hemisphere - or not footprints at all, according to a new analysis published this week in Nature.Earlier this year, researchers in England touted these "footprints" as definitive proof that humans were in the Americas much earlier than 11,000 years ago, which is the accepted date for the arrival of humans across a northern land-bridge from Asia.
These scientists dated the volcanic rock at 40,000 years old. They hypothesized that early hunters walked across ash freshly deposited near a lake by volcanoes that are still active in the area around Puebla, Mexico. The so-called footprints, subsequently covered by more ash and inundated by lake waters, eventually turned to rock.
But Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and an adjunct professor of earth and planetary science at UC Berkeley, and his colleagues in Mexico and at Texas A&M University report a new age for the rock: about 1.3 million years.
"You're really only left with two possibilities," Renne said. "One is that they are really old hominids - shockingly old - or they're not footprints."
Paleoanthropologist Tim White, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley, is familiar with the "so-called footprints" and knows Renne well, frequently collaborating with him in the dating of million-year-old sediments in an area of Ethiopia where White has excavated numerous fossils of human ancestors. He is not surprised at the new finding.
"The evidence (the British team) has provided in their arguments that these are footprints is not sufficient to convince me they are footprints," said Tim White, professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. "The evidence Paul has produced by dating basically means that this argument is over, unless indisputable footprints can be found sealed within the ash."
Read the full article HERE.