Researchers discovered 120,000-Year-Old human footprints in Saudi Arabia

illustrated map of Suadi Arabia and surrounding land

In the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia, researchers have uncovered 120,000-years-old footprints. Somebody discovered almost 376 fossilized footprints. During the survey of a dried lake named Abiathar. What’s intriguing that seven of these footmarks are said to be of humankind.

The Discovery

According to an analysis published in the journal Science Advances, seven identified footprints might be 112,000 and 121,000 years old. If the research endorses this estimate, these would be the traces of the earliest humans living in the Arabia Peninsula.

illustrated map of Suadi Arabia and surrounding land
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In a statement, Mathew Stewart, a research lead authors from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, said 

“We instantly realized the potential of those findings. Footprints are a distinct type of fossil proof in that they supply snapshots in time, sometimes representing a couple of hours or days, a decision we have a tendency not [to] get from different data.”

The archeologists found footprints of other animals such as elephants, horses, and camels beside the human footmarks. The lake is dry without any water traces, but these footprints suggest that it was once fertile with ample water resources. 

What experts say

As Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for Science and Human History said, 

“The presence of large animals such as elephants and hippos, together with open grasslands and large water resources, may have made northern Arabia a beautiful place to humans moving between Africa and Eurasia.”

According to researchers, these footprints date back to the last interglacial period when the conditions were humid. During that period, humans and animals migrated to the Levant from Africa to survive arid conditions. 

“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 footprints, therefore, most likely represent humans or Homo sapiens.”


After examining the footfalls, the experts believe that the lake attracted animals and humans due to dry arid conditions. The many footprints near the lake were due to these animals’ congregation and humans around the lake.

“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.