300,000-year-old footprints were found in Spain

Paleolithic footprints

These fossilized footprints were actually discovered in June 2020 in Donana, southwest Spain. But new, more accurate dating puts the age of these traces back.

A total of 87 footprints were found here as a result of the sand being eroded by the wind… Their sizes suggest that they were children, teenagers and adults. But there is no bone or tool in place. In order to know what type of man trod this land, you need to know the history of these sediments. The first acquaintance was made on the sand above the footprints. A very common dating attributed to Neanderthals, who are 100,000 years old and therefore already present in Europe.

Only here, in the sediment layer with footprints, and with advanced methods, a second dating was carried out. The researchers used the technique of ‘optically stimulated luminescence’, which dates back to when minerals, in this case sand, were last exposed to light rays….or when an impression was made.

As a result, these new analyzes push their age back by almost 300,000 years… 296,000 years to be exact. Therefore, these footprints may not belong to Neanderthals.

Interview with Jeremy Duveau, Paleoanthropologist at the University of Tübingen, Germany, assistant researcher at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and co-author

to learn.


1 min

Scientific method

57 min

An experiment to deacidify the oceans

This acidification is one of the consequences of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. CO2 naturally absorbed by the oceans reacts with water and causes its pH to drop, making it more acidic. This affects marine life and seafood production, particularly oyster production, and it is in this context that this work is carried out.

These scientists used the so-called liming approach, which consists of pouring lime, which consists of carbonate of limestone. This lime, on the other hand, tends to raise the pH locally.

results, currently unpublished but presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting, show that 2000 liters of lime-enriched seawater can reduce local dissolved CO2. This is the first time that this ocean layer has been tested, and the so-called geoengineering experiment has been carried out several times. It remains to be seen whether this restores better production levels and whether this has any consequences for the rest of the marine life.

Scientific method

58 min

A solar storm hit the Earth

According to the nomenclature, it is

degree x, is the most powerful class of solar flares, but has not damaged satellites or power grids.

These storms are caused by a sudden release of energy in the form of electromagnetic waves. The eruptions will intensify as our star enters a new cycle two and a half years ago, so we expect its activity to gradually increase until it reaches its planned peak in July 2025.

And it seems more active than expected. Over the past month, scientists have counted at least 115 sunspots on its surface, signs of a potential future eruption, far more than expected. This could mean either that the peak of activity is coming early, or that this 25th solar cycle will be busier than expected.

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Scientific method

58 min

James Webb discovers the first exoplanet

It is a small rocky planet called LHS 475, about the same size as Earth. It is 99% the diameter of our planet… and 41 light years away.

We know its surface is hotter than our planet because it orbits so close to its star… and orbits it in just two days. Moreover, as is often the case in exoplanet detection, this transit of the planet in front of its star allowed it to be highlighted. This is the so-called transit method: the transiting planet therefore passes in front of its star, making it slightly less bright when you look at it, a bit like an eclipse.

And if this planet is hotter than ours… it’s not as hot as its star. This means it may have an atmosphere… and further analysis is needed. His next appointment by James Webb is next summer.

Science, CQFD

58 min

We thank Jérémy Duveau for his explanations

To continue

Who owns these 300,000-year-old footprints? (conversation)

A study of the new history of footprints (Scientific Reports)

Experience. United States: lime to save oysters from ocean acidification (International mail)

Ocean geoengineering project conducts first field tests (Science, in English)

An X-class solar flare swept the Earth again (Geek Diary)

The sun is angry and appears ahead for its maximum activity (Future Science)

James Webb discovered his first exoplanet, a rocky ball similar to Earth (Number)

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