Archaeologists in Morocco have unearthed more than 80 human footprints dating back some 100,000 years. They're believed to be the oldest in both North Africa and the southern Mediterranean.
The footprints, probably left by five Homo sapiens including children, were discovered on the coast of Larache, a city 90 kilometres south of Tangier.
The archaeologists – from Morocco, Spain, France, and Germany – said the footprints were some of the world's best-preserved human traces.
Their reseach was published in scientific journal Nature in January.
"We do have traces that tell us that, at the time, homo sapiens moved along the coast potentially to seek out marine resources," Mouncef Sedrati, geomorphologist at France's Universite Bretagne Sud, told RFI.
The researchers say they were probably fishermen or gatherers.
Rising sea levels
The discovery was made during a field mission in July 2022 as part of a research project on the origins and dynamics of boulders strewn along the coastline.
"Climate change and rising sea levels are behind the appearance of these traces," said Sedrati, who leads the research project.
"As the cliffs continue to erode, these footprints will disappear and others will be discovered. So we're faced with a dilemma: how can we preserve this heritage site?"
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