Prince Sultan Bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), announced in Tokyo recently that human footprints dating back to about 85,000 years have been discovered on the banks of an ancient lake in the Nefud Desert in Tabuk region.
This announcement came on the sidelines of the Prince visit on Thursday to the exhibition entitled “Trade routes in the Arabian Peninsula – the magnificent antiquities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia throughout the ages.
The exhibition is organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, better known as SCTH in the Japanese National Museum in Tokyo, and is scheduled to end on Sunday.
Prince Sultan said the age of the footprints coincides with the fossil of the finger of an adult person recently found near the central site in the province of Taima, as reported by Saudi Press Agency.
A joint Saudi international team discovered traces of several adults who were scattered on a muddy land in an old lake — each heading to a different destination — in the northwest of Saudi Arabia.
The finger, whose discovery was announced last month, is considered to belong to an adult of the early migrants in recent times to the Arabian Peninsula via the Nefud Desert, which then was a green pasture replete with rivers, lakes, fresh water and abundant animals – a source of food for humans.
This amazing and rare discovery points to a new understanding of how our species came out of Africa en route to colonizing the world.
The research team included the Saudi Geological Survey, the SCTH, King Saud University, the Max Planck Foundation for Human History, Oxford University, Cambridge University, Australia National, and the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Prince Sultan said the SCTH is working side-by-side with archeologists at the Max Planck Institute that has started work with the commission since several years. The objective is to study these footprints in detail. The archeological and scientific exploratory works are still going on in international laboratories.