An ancient footprint found preserved in a Gibraltar sand dune may have been left by one of the last living Neanderthals.

Researchers investigating an area of the Catalan Bay Sand Dune over the last decade have found tracks from both animals and what appears to be a human ancestor dating as far back as 29,000 years ago.

Neanderthals began to die out around 40,000 years ago, though some research has suggested they persisted until as recently as 28,000 years ago.

The experts say the discovery lines up with late Neanderthal-era findings from the nearby Gorham’s Cave, and if confirmed, would be only the second known example of Neanderthal footprints.

In a paper published to the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, an international team including researchers from the Gibraltar National Museum have outlined the remarkable discovery of ancient vertebrate footprints in the region.

The dunes above Catalan bay are a relic of the last glaciation, according to the team, revealing evidence of a time when sea levels sat 120 meters lower than they do today.

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