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Oldest human footprints in North America found in New Mexico

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Oldest human footprints in North America found in New Mexico

WASHINGTON — Fossilized footprints discovered in New Mexico indicate that early humans were walking across North America around 23,000 years ago, researchers reported Thursday.

The first footprints were found in a dry lake bed in White Sands National Park in 2009. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey recently analyzed seeds stuck in the footprints to determine their approximate age, ranging from around 22,800 and 21,130 years ago.

The findings may shed light on a mystery that has long intrigued scientists: When did people first arrive in the Americas, after dispersing from Africa and Asia?

Most scientists believe ancient migration came by way of a now-submerged land bridge that connected Asia to Alaska. Based on various evidence — including stone tools, fossil bones and genetic analysis — other researchers have offered a range of possible dates for human arrival in the Americas, from 13,000 to 26,000 years ago or more.

The current study provides a more solid baseline for when humans definitely were in North America, although they could have arrived even earlier, the authors say. Fossil footprints are more indisputable and direct evidence than “cultural artifacts, modified bones, or other more conventional fossils,” they wrote in the journal Science, which published the study Thursday.

“What we present here is evidence of a firm time and location,” they said.

Based on the size of the footprints, researchers believe that at least some were made by children and teenagers who lived during the last ice age.

David Bustos, the park’s resource program manager, spotted the first footprints in ancient wetlands in 2009. He and others found more in the park over the years.

“We knew they were old, but we had no way to date the prints before we discovered some with (seeds) on top,” he said Thursday.

Made of fine silt and clay, the footprints are fragile, so the researchers had to work quickly to gather samples, Bustos said.

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Virginia Beach’s Bruce Smith scared NFL quarterbacks to death. He has the tombstones to prove it.

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50 Colo. Time dealers, Wells are auto fame inductees

Bruce Smith was known for striking fear into opposing quarterbacks during his playing days in the NFL.

Now, as Halloween approaches, Smith’s neighbors can see just how many QBs he terrorized during his hall of fame career.

Inspired by a Twitter post from Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett, Smith’s friends — Paul Holley and Mike Hillier — got the idea to come up with a similar Halloween attraction.

Holley and Hillier arranged a slate of gravestones painted with the name and number of the NFL quarterbacks Smith sacked during his 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills and four with Washington. Smith is the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 200, and 76 different quarterbacks — some many times — were his victims.

“We were playing golf with Bruce and we saw where someone had tweeted a picture of his graveyard with seven or eight tombstones of quarterbacks he had sacked,” Holley said, referring to Garrett. “I showed Bruce and asked him how many had he sacked. And he said, ‘76.’ So we said, ‘Let’s show him what a real graveyard looks like.’”

It only took a few minutes to convince Smith.

“Myles Garrett actually gave us the idea, and they thought it would be pretty cool for Halloween, for football fans, for kids to come by and take pictures and maybe get a football card or some candy,” said Smith, who played at Norfolk’s Booker T. Washington High and Virginia Tech and now lives in Virginia Beach. “You think of the number 200 sacks. And that’s just in the regular season. But then when you see the number of tombstones that have been amassed, and some of these guys I got to multiple times, then you kind of get a better picture and understanding of the career and of the accomplishments. And just an appreciation for the longevity that took place. “

Smith’s planted a who’s who of NFL quarterbacks, including Joe Montana, Steve Young, Warren Moon, John Elway and Troy Aikman.

But there is one legendary signal-caller who stood out to Smith.

“I don’t care too much for quarterbacks,” Smith said with a smile. “But for me, it was always Dan Marino. He was in the AFC East. He was the least sacked quarterback in that era because of his quick release. So it always gave me a great deal of satisfaction to get through some of those blockers and be able to get to him.”

Smith said his yard attraction couldn’t have been possible without the amazing work of artist Sam Clayman.

A lifelong Washington Football Team fan, Clayman was honored when Holley reached out to him about designing the styrofoam tombstones two weeks ago.

“I had other commitments and responsibilities throughout the week, so I had the weekends to do it,” he said. “I would wake up at 6:30 in the morning and work until I didn’t have any light left. Two very full weekends. But it was fun, though. And it was a challenge.”

Clayman said he’s used to doing paintings and clay sculptures, but this was a different challenge.

“But this was fun because it was something different outside of what I ordinarily do,” said Clayman, who also had help from Paul Ceballo. “It’s humbling. I’ve done a lot of work for some pretty high-profile talent from the area. It’s just icing on the cake when they happen to be a legend in their career.”

Larry Rubama, 757-446-2273, [email protected] Follow @LHRubama on Twitter.

©2021 The Virginian-Pilot. Visit pilotonline.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Broncos podcast: Denver, riding four-game losing skid, hosts Washington in must-win Week 8

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Broncos podcast: Denver, riding four-game losing skid, hosts Washington in must-win Week 8


Ryan O’Halloran

| Broncos reporter

Ryan O’Halloran has been covering the Broncos for The Post since 2018 and has covered the NFL since 2004. A native of North Dakota and graduate of Kansas State, O’Halloran previously covered the Washington Redskins for eight years, primarily at The Washington Times, and the Jacksonville Jaguars for six years at The Florida Times-Union. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors seven times for his work. He was named Colorado Sportswriter of the Year in 2019.

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Logan O’Connor steps into top-six role for Avalanche

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Logan O’Connor steps into top-six role for Avalanche

Relentless puck hound Logan O’Connor will further his NHL career by becoming a top-six forward for the Avalanche in Thursday’s game against the Blues in St. Louis. O’Connor, the former University of Denver standout who gave up his senior year in 2018 to sign with the Avs as an undrafted free agent, will be the right winger on Colorado’s second line.

“O.C.” will play with center Nazem Kadri and left wing Gabe Landeskog as the Avs — who rank 22nd in NHL offense through six games — try to improve on their 2.50 goals-per-game clip. Colorado (2-4) has lost three of its last four games but O’Connor has been a bright spot.

“He has been a consistent worker — forecheck, retrieving pucks, keeping pucks alive, hard in the battles to help us come up with pucks and be able to play in the offensive zone (and) discipline with the puck in the neutral zone,” Avs coach Jared Bednar after Wednesday’s practice. “So he’s the guy, for me, that he’s doing all the right things and playing the right way, and that second line — some of our lines — are missing that element. So it’s a good spot for him there. That’s why I have Landy with him there, too.”

J.T. Compher has been dropped to the third line and the struggling Andre Burakovsky was brought up to the first line, trading spots with Landeskog, in an effort to get him going with center Nathan MacKinnon and right winger Mikko Rantanen.

Burakovsky has just a goal and two points in six games, with a minus-5 rating.

“It’s not good enough,” Bednar said of his play.

O’Connor, 25, was a fabulous forechecker and penalty killer at DU, and he has brought those traits to the Avs. He has developed an excellent wrist shot and has shown significant offensive potential.

“I feel as though last year and years past, I’ve had good opportunities but I haven’t exactly capitalized on those chances,” said O’Connor, who is beginning his fourth full pro season. “And I think with my speed I can put myself in good situations. You just have to bear down offensively because goaltending is so good in this league. You’ve got to be deceptive with your shot, change the angle of your shot, and that’s what separates the good goal scores from guys that don’t score as many. So I’m just constantly trying to dial that into my game.”

Apologetic, sort of. Avs defenseman Jack Johnson on Wednesday spoke about his big hit on Vegas’ Keegan Kolesar in the second period of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the visiting Golden Knights. Johnson was assessed an interference major and game misconduct for the hit, plus a major for fighting after Vegas forward Nicholas Roy attacked him in response to the hit.

Johnson, who got the better of Roy in the fight, appeared to deliver the big hit on Kolesar before the forward could catch a pass up the boards near the Knights’ bench. The Avs said it could have been an interference minor but the hit itself was clean.

“I thought it was a suicide pass,” Johnson said. “I tried to time it as best as I could and just finish the play at the blueline. Other than that, that’s all I can offer you for obvious reasons.”

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