Dozens of ancient footprints discovered on a British Columbia island have been confirmed as the earliest known of their kind in North America.
Researchers at the University of Victoria’s Hakai Institute say they’ve found a total of 29 fossilized footprints, buried deep below a beach on Calvert Island off the province’s central coast.
They studied wood fibres embedded in the prints to confirm they were left there about 13,000 years ago.
The research, published in PLOS One journal on Wednesday, confirms earlier theories about the age of the prints and expands their number beyond the first set discovered in 2014.
Researchers say at least one child was among the early humans who left the footprints and they appear centred around a focal point, rather than marking a trail.
They believe there are more, but will leave them untouched in case scientists in the future with better technology are able to learn more from them.