“Based on excavations of several prints, we’ve found evidence of adults with children from about five to 12 years of age that were leaving bare footprints. People appear to have been walking in shallow water, the sand rapidly infilling their print behind them—much as you might experience on a beach—but under the sand was a layer of mud that kept the print intact after infilling.”–Thomas Urban, Cornell Researcher.
We now know that Utah is home to some of the oldest human footprints in North America. Phys.org reports that a Cornell University research study found footprints from the latest Ice Age in Utah. Cornell researcher Thomas Urban discovered the human footprints were discovered in the salt flats of the Air Force’s Utah Testing and Training Range (UTTR). Ghost tracks are what led the researchers to scope around the desert, which are ” tracks that appear suddenly for a short time when moisture conditions are right, and then disappear again.” The extensive discovery process led to them finding eighty-eight footprints of adults and children:
“The researchers returned to the site the next day and began documenting the prints, with Urban conducting a ground-penetrating radar survey of one of the two visible trackways. Since he previously refined the application of geophysical methods, including radar, for imaging footprints at White Sands, Urban was able to quickly identify what was hidden.”
With the area where the research occurred having no wetlands in over 10,000 years, their research has the crew believe the steps are at least 12,000 years old. They are similar to their discoveries in the White Sands National Park, pictured below, which is home to some of the oldest human footprints in North American history. While it’s not as extensive as White Sands, researchers are saying there’s much more to discover in the Great Salt Lake Desert. Image Credits: Cornell University, White Sands National Park