A new study has found that about 120,000 years ago in what has now become the northern part of Saudi Arabia, a small group of homosapiens were present for a brief time to drink and seek food at a shallow lake.
The movements of these people were decoded by researchers in a study published in Science Advances on Thursday after finding ancient human and animal footprints in the Nefud Desert.
It further said that this group may have hunted the large mammals but was not present there for long and likely to have used the watering hole to go for a long journey.
The Arabian Peninsula that we know today has vast, arid deserts did not provide a favourable environment to early people and animals.
But studies in the last 10 years have shown that this was not always the scenario, due to natural climate variation, the place was much greener and humid.
“At certain times in the past, the deserts that dominate the interior of the peninsula transformed into expansive grasslands with permanent freshwater lakes and rivers,” said study co-author Richard Clark-Wilson of Royal Holloway, as quoted by news agency AFP.
Mathew Stewart, of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany, the paper’s first author, said the footprints were found on this PhD fieldwork in 2017 after the erosion of overlying sediments at an ancient lake known as ‘Alathar’ (“the truce” in Arabic).
“Footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence in that they provide snapshots in time, typically representing a few hours or days, a resolution we tend not to get from other records,” he added.