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Human tracks may be earliest evidence of people in North America | NOVA | PBS

Months later, they came. The seeds revealed that the footprints they were embedded within are between 21,000 and 23,000 years old—thousands of years older than what scientists generally consider to be the earliest evidence of people in the Americas. “For forever, people thought Clovis were the first people to cross over [the Bering Strait] about 13,000 years ago,” Pigati says, referring to the commonly-held view among archaeologists. As the story goes, ice sheets in what is now Canada blocked passage between what is now Alaska and the rest of the Americas. Once these ice sheets began retreating, people came south through an ice-free corridor, Pigati explains. His team’s findings now challenge this belief. Carbon dating of the seeds within the White Sands footprints suggest that people were in the Americas while ice sheets still covered much of northern North America. “A lot earlier” than previously thought, Pigati says.