The Zapata Footprint Mystery: Claims of a Human Footprint Dating Back 290 Million Years
The Zapata Footprint is an alleged human footprint embedded in a Permian rock in New Mexico.
Referred to by some as the New Mexico Trail or the Zapata Trail, various theories have been woven around it.
A Permian Mystery?
Those in favor of its authenticity argue that it is definitive proof that humans walked the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago, completely ignoring what modern science tells us.
According to experts, one of the first defining human traits, bipedalism, the ability to walk on two legs, evolved over 4 million years ago. As noted by the Smithsonian, humans first evolved in Africa, and much of human evolution took place on that continent. The fossils of early humans who lived between 6 and 2 million years ago come entirely from Africa.
More importantly, early humans migrated from Africa to Asia between 2 million and 1.8 million years ago.
They entered Europe a little later, between 1.5 million and 1 million years ago.
Modern human species populated many parts of the world much later.
For example, the first people came to Australia presumably within the last 60,000 years and to the Americas within the last 30,000 years.
The footprint itself has not been the subject of actual scientific study; however, the Permian footprint is claimed to be genuine.
During the Permian, the world was dominated by two continents known as Pangea and Siberia, surrounded by a global ocean called Panthalassa.
One of the researchers who argue that the footprint is genuine is Dr. Don Patton, who, according to official sources, has worked as a geologist in the US, Canada, Australia, England, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Jordan, Israel and Turkey.
Patton has also worked as an archaeologist on various missions including the United States, Mexico, Peru, France, Italy, Israel, Jordan, Cambodia and Turkey.
a strange discovery
As noted by Patton, the footprint itself was supposedly identified in 1987 by paleontologist Jerry MacDonald, who found fossilized tracks of various species of animals and birds in the Permian strata between 290 and 248 million years ago. Among them was the enigmatic footprint.
Given the lack of some data and further studies, the footprint is at best a curiosity that needs to be taken seriously, but it’s too early to conclude that humans walked the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago.