Al-Hassa is the largest oasis in the world, being approximately 20,000 hectares in size, as well as being one of the largest and oldest agriculatural centres in Saudi Arabia. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lakes of Saudi Arabia. There are also sand dunes and sabkhas at the lake. Ad Choices, an 85,000-year-old fossil finger bone in the Nefud. Al-Asfar Lake is situated 13 kilometres east of Al-Hassa and is one of the most important shallow wetland lakes in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. When scientists come along and zap a sediment sample with light, those electrons get released, giving off photons in the process. (If you’re an ichnology enthusiast, it’s worth noting that experiments in a mudflat show that human footprints lose their fine details within about two days and become totally unrecognizable in four.). This handout photo shows a view of the edge of the Alathar ancient lake deposit and surrounding landscape. Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and elephants bigger than any species seen today. Al Athar Saudi Trading Co. Ltd. (Al Athar), Saudi Arabia - Company Information. Kiona N. Smith Sign up or login to join the discussions! - Sep 18, 2020 4:09 pm UTC. Neanderthals had wider, heavier feet with shallower arches compared to most Homo sapiens, and the proportions of the prints at Alathar look more like Homo sapiens feet. Get up-to-date business information, contact details, latest news and press releases and … And based on the different sizes of the tracks, the group probably included at least two or three people. "Footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence in that they provide snapshots in time, typically representing a few hours or days, a resolution we tend not [to] get from other records," he added. Ars may earn compensation on sales from links on this site. Science Advances, 2020 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba8940  (About DOIs). "We know people visited the lake, but the lack of stone tools or evidence of the use of animal carcasses suggests that their visit to the lake was only brief," Stewart added. Evidence from ancient sediments, pollen, and animal fossils all suggest that today’s deserts were once grasslands and woods, crossed by rivers and dotted with lakes like the one at Alathar in the western Nefud Desert. 1B), a formidable barrier to overland movement. Using a method called optically stimulated luminescence, paleoecologist Mathew Stewart of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology and his colleagues dated the layer of sediment just above the layer with the footprints, as well as the layer just below them. Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Ars Technica Addendum (effective 8/21/2018). Located at a distance of 13 kilometers from the Al Hassa in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia; the Al Asfar lake is an important lake. “Movement and landscape use by humans and mammals in Arabia were inextricably linked,” wrote Stewart and his colleagues. CNMN Collection Modern elephants in east Africa do the same thing today, and they follow chains of lakes like the chain Alathar was a part of 120,000 years ago. ... Alathar was a shallow lake … Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia… Researchers discovered hundreds of fossilized footprints, which were exposed by sediment erosion, during a survey of an ancient lake in Saudi Arabia's Nefud Desert. Archeologists and anthropologists recently discovered 376 humans as well as animal footprints altogether dating back 120,000 years in the ancient Alathar Lake which is now dried up and a part of the Nefud Desert in Saudi Arabia. In among the 376 ancient shapes discovered around Alathar lake, experts identified animal footprints, including prints belonging to horses, camels and elephants -- notable because elephants appeared to have gone extinct in the Levant about 400,000 years ago. The footprints described in the new study were discovered during a recent survey of the Nefud Desert in Saudi Arabia. Today, the Arabian deserts are some of the most inhospitable environments in the world. It is a shallow lake in the wetlands. That was a better option then than it sounds now. /CFP Around 120,000 years ago in where is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and … © 2020 Condé Nast. (CNN)Hundreds of fossilized footprints dating back 120,000 years have been discovered in Saudi Arabia, and they might point to the earliest evidence of human movement into the region, according to a new study in Science Advances. Although both people and animals walked in all directions at Alathar—along the shore, to and from the lake, and on other paths—the tracks all eventually make their way from north to south. — AFP WASHINGTON: Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia… Back then, Alathar was a shallow lake in a low spot between dunes. All rights reserved. The first human footprint discovered at the Alathar ancient lake. While the prints aren’t easy to see, the largest of the lot caught one team member’s eye. The Nefud Desert in modern-day Saudi Arabia lies around 500km to the southeast of the Sinai Peninsula. Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that … That provided a handy set of brackets on the possible age of the footprints: somewhere between 112,000 and 121,000 years old. "The footprints, therefore, most likely represent humans, or Homo sapiens.". You must login or create an account to comment. Human footprints dating back 120,000 years found in Saudi Arabia. The silica fossils of single-celled algae in the footprint layer suggest that when the small group of people visited, the lake was in the process of drying up as the climate shifted. The first human footprint discovered at Alathar and its corresponding digital elevation model. “It appears that Alathar Lake was only briefly visited by humans,” wrote Stewart and his colleagues. Humans reached Saudi Arabia at least 120,000 years ago The footprints appear alongside tracks from a herd of Pleistocene elephants. Here, we report hominin and non-hominin mammal footprints and fossils from the Alathar lacustrine deposit in the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia . And last year, archaeologists found an 85,000-year-old fossil finger bone in the Nefud—the oldest directly dated Homo sapiens fossil anywhere outside Africa or the Levant. Tell:+966 11 2706351 Fax: +966 11 2706357 . By measuring the photons, scientists can tell how long ago a rock or layer of sediment last saw the light of day. You could also strike out east, across the northern end of the Arabian Peninsula. About 120,000 years ago, two or three people walked along the shore of a shallow lake in what is now northern Saudi Arabia. This undated handout photo obtained September 16, 2020 shows animal fossils eroding out of the surface of the Alathar ancient lake deposit. Seven footprints found in a dry lake bed in the north of Saudi Arabia could prove that humans were present in the area 120,000 years ago, according … Imagine that you’re a hunter-gatherer about 120,000 years ago, and you’re walking out of eastern Africa into Eurasia. S. Sabkhat Matti This page was last edited on 12 December 2017, at 15:22 (UTC). Pages in category "Lakes of Saudi Arabia" This category contains only the following page. Impact Center (Alathar) | 43 followers on LinkedIn | Social Impact Evaluation | As part of Vision 2030, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to have a tangible impact on the non-profit sector that can help participate in achieving the development agenda. How can we be sure? "It is only after the last interglacial [period] with the return of cooler conditions that we have definitive evidence for Neanderthals moving into the region," Stewart said. The Nefud is arid, receiving on average between 30 and 90 mm of rainfall a year (Edgell, 2006, pp. This handout photo shows a view of the edge of the Alathar ancient lake deposit and surrounding landscape Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo and elephants bigger than any species seen today. Paleoanthropologists are still debating exactly why you’ve decided to do such a thing, and you almost certainly don’t have a destination in mind, but for now we’ll take it for granted that you just want to take a really, really long walk. Seven footprints pressed into the parched sediment of an ancient lake bed in northern Saudi Arabia may testify to humans’ presence in the region … Off and on during the Pleistocene, the Arabian Peninsula had a wetter climate than it does today. WIRED Media Group Elephant (left) and camel (right) trackways were discovered. Al-Athar Group Post Box: 250649,Riyadh - 11391 Country:Saudi Arabia . Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that … Photo by Badar ZAHRANI/AFP via Getty Images Head Office. Join the Ars Orbital Transmission mailing list to get weekly updates delivered to your inbox. 'Blood amber' may be a portal into dinosaur times, but the fossils are an ethical minefield for palaeontologists. 1A).Covering ~ 58,500 km 2 between latitudes 27°8′ and 29°45′, the Nefud is dominated by densely-packed dunes that can reach 80 m or more in height (Fig. Photograph by Palaeodeserts Project. Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and elephants bigger than any species seen today. After studying the footfalls, experts believe the dense concentration of tracks suggests animals gathered around the lake as a result of dry conditions and diminishing water, while humans could have used the area for water and foraging. The footprints at Alathar suggest that our species had reached Arabia even earlier. Alathar Arabia Camel Elephant Footprints Hominin Homo Homo sapiens Horse Lake Nefud Desert Out-of-Africa theory Pleistocene Sand Saudi Arabia Follow You Might Like F +966 12 616 5597. The footprints described in the new study were discovered during a recent survey of the Nefud Desert in Saudi Arabia. At an ancient lake deposit dubbed ‘Alathar’ (meaning “the trace” in Arabic) by the team, hundreds of human and animal footprints were discovered embedded in the surface, having been exposed following the erosion of overlying sediments. There’s no trace of stone tools, animal butchery, hearth fires, or anything else that would indicate people actually lived and worked here. This list may not reflect recent changes . 300,000-year-old stone tools at one site in the Nefud probably mark the presence of an early wave of hominins, probably Homo erectus. Al Athar Saudi Trading Company 5th Floor Bridgestone Bldg. The Nefud Desert is the northern-most of the major Arabian sand seas (Fig. Being a good wetland, Al Asfar provides for greenery and vegetation. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia T +966 12 616 5596 . At an ancient lake deposit dubbed ‘Alathar’ (meaning “the trace” in Arabic) by the team, hundreds of human and animal footprints were discovered embedded in the surface, having been exposed following the erosion of overlying sediments. “It may have served as a stopping point and a place to drink and forage during long-distance travel, perhaps initiated by the arrival of dry conditions and dwindling water resources.”. Researchers believe that the footprints date to the last interglacial period -- a time which saw humid conditions that facilitated human and animal movement across a region which was otherwise comprised of deserts. Fossil and archeological records show that these conditions aided human migration from Africa to the Levant, researchers said. These distinguishable fossilized footprints belonged to elephants, horses, sheep, goats, camels, and of course humans wherein the elephant […] At other ancient lakes in the Nefud, archaeologists have found stone tools and other evidence that people stuck around for a while, but not at Alathar. But more surprisingly, researchers said they discovered seven hominin footprints, which, if confirmed, could be evidence of the earliest dated evidence of the human species in the Arabian Peninsula. At Alathar, people crossed paths with whole herds of elephants and camels, along with at least one giant buffalo and a wild ass. The oldest human footprints in the Arabian Peninsula have been discovered on an ancient lakebed deep in Saudi Arabia's Nefud Desert, according to research released Friday. An Nafud or Al-Nefud or The Nefud (Arabic: صحراء النفود ‎, romanized: ṣahrā' an-Nafūd) is a desert in the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula at Coordinates, occupying a great ovalIt is 290 kilometres (180 mi) long and 225 kilometres (140 mi) wide, with an area of 103,600 square kilometres (40,000 sq mi). This handout photo shows a view of the edge of the Alathar ancient lake deposit and surrounding landscape. Researchers were surveying the Alathar lake in Saudi Arabia when they made the discovery. There’s also no trace of anyone else in the region at that time (so far), so our species looks more likely. Many of the tracks had been muddled by erosion and trampling, but the 177 that Stewart and his colleagues could identify provided a snapshot of the ecosystems early humans were part of as they expanded into southwest Asia. Researchers were surveying the Alathar lake in Saudi Arabia when they made the discovery. Retracing the first human steps out of Saudi Arabia: Scientists use footprints to recreate 120,000-year-old comfort break at prehistoric lake 18 September 2020 Scientists have pieced together the movements of a small group of early humans as they journeyed out of Africa and into the Arabian Peninsula for the first time – more than 120,000 years ago. Read our affiliate link policy. "We immediately realized the potential of these findings," Mathew Stewart, one of the study's lead authors from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, said in a statement. T +966 12 616 5595. We argue that the footprints, dated to the last interglacial and therefore contemporaneous with an early H. sapiens out-of-Africa dispersal ( Fig. From that important geographical crossroads, you’ve got some options: you could head north through Syria and Turkey, then veer east into Asia or west into Europe. Stewart and his colleagues suggest that the large herbivores like elephants, camel, and buffalo could have been moving south to follow a seasonal shift in rainfall. Issam Ahmed, Agence France-Presse Posted at Sep 17 07:38 AM. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. PHOTO: AFP. The small group of people who passed by the lake at Alathar may have been following the water, the herds, or both, but they didn’t stay long, in any case. The ground around the lake deposit is “heavily trampled,” with at least 376 tracks from various animals. Palestine Street, Jeddah P.o.Box: 128128 Jeddah 21362 Saudi Arabia Tel: +96612 – 6614297 Fax: +96612 – 6614199 Email: info@alathar.com www.alathar.com Over tens of thousands of years or more, quartz grains trap electrons in their crystal structure (the electrons end up trapped because natural radiation excites them into bouncing around until they get stuck). The footprints described in the new study were discovered during a recent survey of the Nefud Desert in Saudi Arabia. Your California Privacy Rights | Do Not Sell My Personal Information They left behind at least seven footprints in the mud, and today those tracks are the oldest known evidence of our species’ presence in Arabia. Human footprints dating back 120,000 years found in Saudi Arabia This undated handout photo obtained September 16, 2020 shows the first human footprint discovered at the Alathar ancient lake Archaeologists at the Alathar lake site in the western Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia. As a result, the Arabian Peninsula has been an important route for hominins’ expansion beyond Africa, which started with Homo erectus and eventually ended with Homo sapiens. It’s likely that all of those animals visited Alathar within days or even hours of each other, because footprints in mud tend to fade away quickly unless they're preserved somehow. But it still held enough freshwater to offer an appealing stop in the arid landscape for humans and for a menagerie of other Pleistocene wildlife. Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT) September 22, 2020. Almost inevitably, you’ll come to the Levant, on the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The fossil footprints were found at the Alathar ancient lake deposit in Saudi Arabia. The major Arabian sand seas ( Fig years found in Saudi Arabia when they made the discovery at. Overland movement Ars Orbital Transmission mailing list to get weekly updates delivered to your.. 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