(CNN) – A team of scientists in Chile say they have found a human footprint that dates back more than 15,000 years – the oldest ever in America.
The discovery challenges the previous timeline and map of human migration to South America. Most of the available evidence claimed that people did not reach Patagonia at the southern tip of South America until 12,000 years ago, Karen Moreno, one of the co-authors of the research, said CNN.
The track was found in 2010 at the paleo-archaeological site of Osorno in the southern part of the country, on the outskirts of the city's urban development. However, it took years for scientists to confirm the age of fossils through carbon dating.
Scientists have been alerted to the wealth of the area after construction workers digging houses, began to uncover treasures hidden beneath the surface.
Since 1986, a new wave of research has been under way to reveal the remains of large animals, from mastodons to horses to the paleolama, the larger llama that has now disappeared.
But the ancient human footprint was perhaps the greatest price.
It took eight years to confirm the track's age
Moreno's colleague Mario Pino found a trail just before Christmas in 2010.
To determine the age of the track, the team used radiocarbon dating techniques to find the age of wood, seeds, and bones that were around the impression. They also found evidence of primitive stone tools in the area around the fossil.
They identified a species as Hominipes modernus, which is closely related to Homo sapiens.
Organic material experiments around the track have produced a range of possible data, with mean age attaching prints around 15,600 years ago.
However, more than eight years have passed between filth filming and the issue of her age. Moreno said the team spent that time "trying to convince our colleagues that it was a clue."
Over time, the evidence became undeniable, she said. "We confirmed and checked and checked again."
Moreno said that in a "convincing colleague" it is "a lot of trouble", as it may be that people were in the area 3000 years earlier than the earlier traces of the nomadic Clovis culture that existed in the area.
Finally, reviewers were satisfied.
Finding overrides human migration map
It took millions of years for human feet to march to America. They eventually crossed the Bering Strait from modern Russia to Alaska during the last Ice Age.
"If we have evidence of people until then, we have to find out how they got there," Moreno said.
Much of this evidence, if any, is now probably at the bottom of the sea. Sea levels were lower than 15,000 years ago.
"Most of the evidence is under water or has been eroded by glaciers," Moreno said.