The exact period of first human settlement in the highest point in the world has been a mystery to scientists lately, until provocative evidence surfaced that could offer answers to this millennia-old question. This does not only shed light to the first Tibetans, but to the entire humanity as a whole.
The Tibetan Plateau did not earn its infamous reputation as the “roof of the world” for nothing. Being the highest point in the world, only the toughest ones would brave the harsh condition in this place.
This caused many scientists to speculate the time when first humans settled in this part of the world. This wasn’t easy to ascertain, until a group of researchers recently found permanent footprints, which appeared to be from the first settlers in the plateau, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Folklore has it that the markings were left by mythical creatures called Yeti. But the scientists believe it was from the early Tibetans who settled in the area some 12,700 years ago.
It appeared that the prints were left on soft clay, which later hardened through time and became cement-like rock. Thanks to the wonders of nature, these prints have been well-preserved up to this day.
Fossilized Marks, Not Yeti’s
In the study published in the journal of Science, the researchers offered a more scientific argument. For them, these are marks left at least 2,200 years before the permanent villages were established. Just like other in archaeological studies, the researchers used carbon dating technique to determine the age of the fossilized prints.
“Their analysis indicates occupation of the plateau 7400 years ago and possibly earlier. These dates are consistent with the genetic history of Tibetans and suggest that a permanent preagricultural peopling of the plateau was enabled by the wetter regional climate at that time,” an excerpt of the study reads.
Apart from offering evidence-based explanation on the origins of Tibetan ethnic groups, the study also gave rational basis on the story of mythical creatures that remained a popular story among the Tibetans and other cultures. At least, for now, the issue of Yeti being responsible for these marks will be put to rest.