Mystery Of The 290-Million-Year-Old Zapata Footprint In New Mexico

Jan Bartek - - Fossilized footprints are often a subject of heated debates, especially if they are millions of years old and you cannot determine who made them.

In New Mexico, there is a very strange track made in the mud. It’s known as the Zapata footprint and it is estimated “someone” made it about 290 million years ago.

Did human-like beings walk the Earth millions of years ago?

Is it a human footprint or was it made by a long-gone extinct animal perhaps? What did Earth look like 290 million years ago?

This was a time when the Earth's continents were fused together in the supercontinent Pangea.  Pangea broke up into smaller continents in the Triassic period, which is when dinosaurs first evolved. All plants and animals that existed in those days would be unrecognizable to us.


Stunning View Of What Supercontinent Pangea Looks Like Mapped With Modern Borders - Read More

The Zapata footprint was discovered many years ago by a hunter who informed his friend Don Shockey about the unusual find. Shockey who had knowledge of archaeology and anthropology decided to investigate the footprint in the wilderness of New Mexico. He gathered a science team, consisting of several experts. Two of the team’s participants were Dr. Don Patton and Dr. Carl Baugh.  Dr. Patton was an experienced geologist who had worked in several countries investigating fossils and participated in dinosaur excavations in Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Canada.

Dr. Baugh is the discoverer and excavation director of sixteen dinosaurs, including Acrocanthosaurus in Texas and Diplodocus in Colorado.

With such experienced science members, there should be a good chance to determine what kind of creature had left the footprint. The investigations should have been easy, but it wasn’t due to a number of obstacles researchers encountered.

Mystery Of The 290 Million-Year-Old Zapata Footprint In New Mexico

The strange Zapata footprint is believed to be 290 million years old. Credit: Footprints in stone

Soon after the science team obtained a mining permit to excavate in the area where the track was located a local armed landowner threatened them for trespassing private land claiming they were on this private land.

Shockey and his team showed the angry man their permission to excavate at the site and explained this was the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) property. Unfortunately, the landowner was of a different opinion and he told them to leave immediately. The team managed to take some photographs, but researchers were forced to interrupt the documentation and they left the place in a hurry.

From an archaeological point of view, this was a tragedy because the hunter who had originally reported the discovery “had also reported that he had seen several other human footprints in the rock around the same area and showed Dr. Patton several photographs to validate his story.” 1

According to Dr. Patton, the Zapata footprint is extremely shallow making it very difficult to photograph.

Mystery Of The 290 Million-Year-Old Zapata Footprint In New Mexico

Examination of the Zapata fooprint. Credit: Footprints in stone

So, who made the Zapata footprint? A majority will say humans did not exist millions of years ago. Could the Zapata footprint belong to a bipedal dinosaur? Maybe it can, but as we said at the beginning of this article this happened during the age of Pangea and scientists have concluded dinosaurs inhabited the world for some 160 million years. This means the Zapata footprint predates the dinosaurs.

Strange tracks in rocks have been found before, and they often pose a challenge to our historical timelines.

Some years ago,  scientists discovered a set of controversial human-like footprints on Crete. These tracks are now putting the theory of human evolution to the test.

"The footprints are about 5.7 million years old from Trachilos in western Crete, have an unmistakably human-like form. This is especially true of the toes. The big toe is similar to our own in shape, size, and position. It is also associated with a distinct 'ball' on the sole, which is never present in apes.” 2

Is it possible humans appeared much earlier than previously thought or did unknown human-like beings leave behind footprints scientists cannot identify?

Written by Jan Bartek - Staff Writer

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