Archeology is the science responsible for studying cultures and civilizations of the past. And through archaeological discoveries, traces of ancient societies, cultures and animal fossils are discovered. Several scholars dedicate their lives in search of objects, fossils and details of the past.
Since it emerged, the world has gone through many things and several species have ceased to exist. And natural selection was responsible for creating several new species. There are still many secrets from the past that we don’t know and this is the reason for so much determination on the part of scientists and archaeologists.
Throughout our history, archaeologists and researchers have made countless discoveries that have changed the way we view our own existence. As an example, this discovery of a large set of fossilized footprints . He showed that large prehistoric mammals were gathering in the sea millions of years earlier than was thought.
Researchers Anton Wroblewski of the University of Utah and Bonnie Gulas-Wroblewski of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute took pictures and examined the location of the footprints . They were first found in 2019 by Wroblewski while he was mapping rocks that formed on an ancient coastline in what is now Wyomig, USA.
Plant fossils that were found in the layers above where the trails were found show that the footprints are approximately 58 million years old. This makes them the first direct evidence of mammals using marine environments.
The earliest evidence was of sea whales coming from rocks that formed 9.4 million years later. Mammalian footprints dating back 58 million years or earlier are quite rare. And this new discovery is only the fourth place in the world where they have been found. The first were found near an ancient coastline.
“The other places with the clues have a few dozen footprints. This one has thousands of footprints, so it gives a really important insight into how these animals were moving, what they were doing,” Wroblewski said.
The researchers recorded the footprints in four layers of sediment, each of which represents a different time when the trails were made in the environment.
“We don’t know how long these layers represent, but it’s almost certainly thousands to tens of thousands of years. So these four layers of rock tell us that these animals didn’t just enter the marine environment once. They did this many, many times over tens of thousands of years. And that’s why we think it was their habit. It’s something they did regularly,” explained Wroblewski.
These footprints were made by at least two types of animals. And even though the footprints are four-toed, the researchers couldn’t compare them to any known animal from the same period. And the five-toed footprints were probably made by the hippopotamus animal Coryphodon.
“In a way, it’s an extension of time for Coryphodon. The fact that you have this environmental association means that it may be possible to look into other areas where these environments are preserved to see if the bands can be identified there,” concluded George Engelmann of the University of Nebraska Omaha, USA.