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Evidence suggests prehistoric humans knew more about dinosaur footprints than we thought

Drawings surrounding their homes show that prehistoric humans might have known something about them.

Evidence suggests prehistoric humans knew more about dinosaur footprints than we thought
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Djamel Ramdani

A new study reveals that ancient human beings were much more aware of their surroundings than we give them credit for. They certainly knew about dinosaurs as well. While the extent of prehistoric humans' knowledge about dinosaurs remains unclear, it's evident they found dinosaur footprints intriguing, according to CNN.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

Drawings carved next to dinosaur footprints in Brazil serve as evidence of their awareness. According to the source, these drawings, known as petroglyphs, were discovered at an agricultural site in Eastern Brazil named Serrote do Letreiro. The footprints were initially discovered in 1975, while recent drone technology has unveiled petroglyphs dating back thousands of years. The petroglyphs were revealed due to the recent drone technology and date back thousands of years.

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Archaeologist Leonardo Troiano from the Institute of National Historic and Artistic Heritage in Brasilia led the study. He told CNN, “People usually think that Indigenous people weren’t aware of their surroundings or didn’t have any kind of scientific spirit or curiosity. But that’s not true. They were interested in the footprints. We’ll never know if they knew about dinosaurs, but it is clear that they were curious about the prints and thought they were meaningful in some way.” The dinosaur marks found in these sites are from the Cretaceous period, which happened about 66 million years ago. As per the outlet, it isn't known when the petroglyphs were made, but from the findings of radiocarbon dating, the burial sites in the area are between 9,400 and 2,620 years old.

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The petroglyphs mainly consist of geometric shapes, radial lines and more abstract motifs, per New Scientist. The footprints feature dinosaurs, including theropods, sauropods, and ornithopods. The markings are also quite distinctive from each other, suggesting that different artists were involved in making them. “They all seem to be abstract, and if they represented something to the people who made them, we don’t know what it is,” the archaeologist said. About the location of the markings, Troiano shared, “This region in Brazil is like the Outback in Australia—it’s really hot, and there’s no shade, so it’s not easy to stand there and carve the rock. It requires a lot of effort, so when they picked this location, they were being very intentional. They could have used so many other rock outcrops in the surroundings, but they chose this one.”

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“I think rock art creation was embedded in some sort of ritual context: people gathering and creating something, perhaps utilizing some psychotropics. We have a plant called jurema, which is hallucinogenic, and it’s still used to this day,” Troiano explained. “We can speculate that people were using it in the past as well because it’s so abundant and common in the region. I think they were interested in what the footprints represent, and I suppose they identified them as footprints. They noticed it wasn’t random," he added further. Out of all the sites found in the United States and Poland, the drawings in Brazil near the footprints seem the most intentional, according to the archaeologist. It gives us an insight into how prehistoric humans perceived the world around them.

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