White Sands NP Prehistoric Footprints Push Back Arrival of Cha-Cha Slide into America 21,000 Years

Dr. Twentin Quarantino1, Dr. Mary Stipings2

1 Department of Feet Things, Cranberry-Lemon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

2 Department of Pop-Cultural Anthropology, Cranberry-Lemon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


“Take it back now y’all” has a deeper meaning than cultural anthropologists previously thought. According to new findings in White Sands National Park, footprint evidence now suggests that the Cha-Cha Slide was introduced into the American ecosystem over 21,000 years ago. By using geological dating techniques [1] on the footprints, it is now evident that the Cha-Cha Slide is at least 20,978 years older than scientists previously estimated [2]. In this paper, we will discuss reconstructing prehistoric cha-cha slide footprints with an equivalently sized prehistoric sized man, and match the patterns to the discovered footprints. After cross analyzing other popular party dances and explaining away all of our missing data, this study finds that ancient American humans were in fact Cha-Cha’ing real smooth. 

Keywords: Anthropology, Footology, Party Dances, DJ Casper, Back it up, Slide to the left, Slide to the Right, Criss-Cross, Left Two stomps, Right to Stomps, Criss-Cross, Everybody Clap your Hands, Two Hops this Time, Turn it Out, How low can you go, can you go down low, All the way to the floor, Can you bring it to the top, Like it never never stops

1. Introduction

The Cha-Cha Slide is one of the most widely recognized wedding rituals across nearly all American cultures. Regardless of  religion, race, ethnicity, or budget, all American weddings ceremonially play the Cha-Cha Slide customarily when ~75% of drink tickets are used. According to traditional estimates in [2], the dance was thought to be the dream child of DJ Casper and “Something New” after releasing the song in 2000 [3]. While DJ Casper’s rendition and funky beats may have truly been original, the corresponding dance appears to have been long celebrated in the North American continent. It is only through the wonders of the desertification of the American Southwest that we can study and date this tradition culturally linking us with our most ancient ancestors through science and footology. 

2. Background

With discovering the cha cha slide the link to our ancestors is proven. Back in 2021 a team of scientists discovered a grouping of fossilized footprints recently uncovered by the shifting sands of the Tularosa Basin [4]. These footprints are now the earliest sign of humanity in the continent pushing back the previously estimated arrival of humans in America by 6,000 years. 

2.1 Prehistoric Footprints

A long long time ago, in a distant magical land called New Mexico there was a mega drought. Many lakes and water tables dried up causing water to recede in the strange world. This forced the local inhabitants to travel far far into the dried up muddy lake. These footprints were then fossilized with additional layers of sediment. [5]

Figure 1: Footprints at the Dig Site of [4]
Figure 1: Footprints at the Dig Site of [4]

It’s because of these footprints, we know of the existence of Humans, Mammoths and most ferociously Giant Sloths! The area was wild and diverse with megafauna the likes of which could fill a nifty natural history museum to entertain a bus load of school children for upwards of 50 minutes. 

2.2 Cha-Cha Slide

The Cha-Cha Slide is the most universally beloved party dance song originally believed to be because of it’s easy to follow dance instructions [6] which made it perfect for gatherings of children and old people alike. The dance and song exploded onto the scene in 2000 after being released by DJ Casper spending five weeks on the top 100. Though most scholars believe it’s just a fun party song [7], others believe that there is a deep cultural heritage linking humans to the dance [8]. While many dismiss these claims calling it crazy and unfounded [9], evolutionary biologists have determined that the humans have biologically adapted to move to DJ Casper’s funky beats [10]. Originally dismissed by anthropologists claiming that the funky beats adapted to the way humans already moved [11], a cross cultural analysis found similar party grooves dating back to Medieval France called Le Glissiére d’étape, then a Persian dance the 𐎩 𐎮 𐎼 (or Hip Hop Chop) and finally in 600BC China as the  Chángjiāng Huádòng (Yangtze Slide) [12].

3. Dance Reconstruction

As shown in figure 2, we asked the hairiest member of the research team with the most realistic stature and size of a prehistoric human to dance the Cha-Cha Slide. We annotated each specific move of the dance using our army of unpaid interns, then documented and measured the resulting footprints in the sand at White Sands National Park. The foot analysis team were then able to positively and reliably identify the Back it Up, Left/Right Stomp, Criss-Cross, Slide to the Left/Right, and finally a Cha-Cha Real Smooth.

Figure 2: Fully annotated video of the Cha-Cha Slide at White Sands National Park

3.1 “Back it Up!”

The most basic move was the Back it up. During the footprints reconstruction, this created a very clear series of parallel footprints easily distinguished from the rest. We measured a larger imprint in the front of the foot as the back consistently across the pattern. Additional analysis of the “Back it Up” sequence proved that height variations between the sexes had remained consistent across time, as footprints show where a drunken male backed up into a female with a shorter gait, thus spilling her drink [13]. 

3.2 “Left/Right Stomp”

The next most recognizable pattern was the right and left stomps. Even during double stomps, the pattern was clearly visible on both sides of the back it up path branching off with a single willful footstep. Video and sand compression analysis showed that during an average stomp move, more than 14N of additional force was used by each foot, though we are unsure if our prehistoric man surrogate would be comparable in weight due to his fruit gummy based diet.

Figure 3: Major Foot Indentations on the Left/Right Stomps
Figure 3: Major Foot Indentations on the Left/Right Stomps

3.3 “Criss-Cross!”

The most peculiar patterns observed were those created from Criss-Crossing or as Tanzanians have been calling it for centuries Giraffe Style. At each Criss-Cross, four equally pounded in imprints are forced sporadically and intentionally creating an X. While many dancers might maintain a healthy balance and foot placement, over 80% of the Criss-Cross’s measured in the sand were observed to have Cattywampus feet positions to use the technical term established in [14].

3.4 “Slide to the Left/Right”

Next, at the edges of a Cha-Cha or Back it up zone, Slide to the Left and Right dragging movement created a foot wide chasm with sand and dirt piling up at the edge of the move into a sufficient subduction zone before returning to either another Cha-Cha zone or a transitory back it up period. Even when the dancer is ordered by the dance master to the left after a Slide right then left, the shallow ditch created remains, proving to be a reliably identifiable move. 

Figure 4: Slide to the Left and Right as reconstructed by a simulated Prehistoric man
Figure 4: Slide to the Left and Right as reconstructed by a simulated Prehistoric man

3.5 “Cha-Cha Real Smooth”

The footprints produced from going Cha-Cha Real Smooth, while seemingly random, made a recognizable random pattern while making a remarkably unique foot indentation. The pure randomness and free flowing creativity inspired from Cha-Cha’ing real smooth allowed footprints to be detected using a maximum entropy detector which looked for a lack of any real patterns. No other dance move known in human history has been shown to create more unstructured foot movement than telling an unskilled dancer to Cha-Cha real smooth. Additionally, when told to be smooth, humans interpret a cat-like posture which evolutionarily influences human movement to place more pressure on their toes backed up by the landmark foot study [15]. 

4. Footprint Data

After days of careful excavation and digging, hundreds of prehistoric footprints were discovered and extensively documented by our handy interns armed with tiny shovels and tooth brushes. They don’t get a real shovel until their third year. The footprints were observed to be plentiful and in a grid suggesting some sort of ceremony with many organized dancers who must have gathered in a ritualistic location. There was certainly an all-commanding dance master. Because each set of footprints were observed across multiple layers it is clear that we stumbled upon an early form of a multi-purpose room likely used in wedding ceremonies, coming of age birthdays, and well chaperoned teenage dance parties.  

4.1 Footprint Matching

Linking up different foot shapes and sizes with each other, we were able to reconstruct not only different dancers but also the different dance moves as shown in figure 5. Using this methodology, we were able to attribute 80% of the discovered footprints with a corresponding dance move despite the concern for a positivity bias in the research team. 

Figure 5: Various Prehistoric Dancer moves of the Cha-Cha Slide
Figure 5: Various Prehistoric Dancer moves of the Cha-Cha Slide

You can tell certain males apart from one another by how hard they stomp. This is assumed to be a dominance hierarchy or social adeptness amongst the males. As those stomping harder must prove fertility to the females and foot size to males [16]. We know this because we observed more hard stomp footprints over time showing some evolutionary sexual signalling mechanism to show virility which produced harder stompers over the years. At one point we believed it peaked at the second to last set of footprints until we realized we actually found a few mammot prints instead. 

4.2 Uncertain Footprints

Unfortunately not all of the footprints were able to be associated with a Cha-Cha Slide move despite our generous labeling practices. As shown in figure 6, even the distinctive moves could sometimes be tough to tell apart as it shows a Criss-Cross which may also be a left stomp. Likewise, many of the moves were nearly indistinguishable from each other. Even in the reconstruction of the dance, hops were indistinguishable from dancers determining how low they could go. At the climax of the prehistoric Cha-cha slide, dancers would determine if they could go down low. Whether they could go all the way to the floor, they’d go down low before bringing it to the top like it never never stopped. These footprints were nearly identical to the hop moves. While digging into the dirt going down low, a similar shattered crusty impact was formed as a short jump. 

Figure 6: Prehistoric Criss-Cross or left stomp
Figure 6: Prehistoric Criss-Cross or left stomp

5. Results and Discussion

Despite our overwhelmingly positive data, our peer reviewers made us analyze the data against other dances after we talked them down from boring normal day-to-day behavior that didn’t involve dancing. As shown in Table 1, these were scored on Foot Move Scores (FMS) in a meaningless unit as well as Group Pattern Scores (GPS) which we somehow found out could be measured in meters distance^(3/2) after canceling some things out. While FMS will evaluate one dancer, the GPS will evaluate the likeliness of a group of dancers to create an observed dance pattern. 

SongFoot Move Score (FMS) Group Pattern Score (GPS)
Cha-Cha Slide3786m^(3/2)
Cupid Shuffle1853m^(3/2)
Crank That (Soulja Boy)2421m^(3/2)
The Twist1542m^(3/2)
Chicken Dance0.64m^(3/2)
    Table 1:  Cross Dance Score Analysis

The results prove two things, prehistoric Americans did not know the chicken dance and they loved the Cha-Cha Slide. According to the GPS, the Cha-Cha Slide is the only dance that would explain the tight but yet spread out pattern of dancing in a uniformed manner compared with other party line dances. Likewise, while some other songs elicited some similar step patterns, they did not come close to creating the variety and specific pattern of individual foot move patterns seen in the Cha-Cha Slide. 

6. Conclusion

Some anthropologists believe that the agile maneuvering encouraged by the Cha-Cha Slide is an adaptation to teach adolescent humans to dance real smooth and stealthy onto prey as well as to stomp and hop for good cardio and to scare away bears. Others believe that the easy mix of groupthink dancing mixed with the occasional bouts of freer creative thought during occasional unguided stages of the dance allowed for ancient human societies. It is in the individualist + Community structure that both ancient and modern humans thrive which makes the respectable anthropologists [8,10,12] prove theoretically and now empirically to [7,9,11] that they are wrong and we evolved from the Cha-Cha Slide and not the other way around. 


  1. Geological Techniques to Determine how old Trevor’s Mom Is :: Journal of Astrological Big Data Ecology
  2. Stipings, Mary May 2017 An Archaeological Estimate of the Cha-Cha Slide Age using Champaign Bottle Fragments :: Journal of Pop Culture Archaeology
  3. DJ Casper Aug 2000 Cha-Cha Slide :: Cha-Cha Slide
  4. Springer, K., Pigati J The Discovery of Ancient Human Footprints in White Sands National Park and their link to Abrupt Climate Change 
  5. Goose M. Jun 2019 Dansgaard-Oeschger Events for Babies :: Baby University 
  6. Stipings, Mary May 2019 Anthropological Explanations of the Cha-Cha Slide :: Journal of Billboard Top 100’siological Studies
  7.  Author Humbuckle Feb 2014 The Cha-Cha Slide is just a Party Song :: Journal of Boring Skepticism
  8. DJ Dance Master J. Apr 2014 Ancient Cultural Heritage of the Cha-Cha Slide :: Annals of Danceology 
  9. Author Humbuckle Dec 2014 Nuh Uhh DJ Dance Master J: The Cha-Cha Slide is just a Party Song 
  10. DJ Dance Master J. Mar 2015 Yuh Huh Humbuckle! Ancient Cultural Heritage of the Cha-Cha Slide 
  11. Author Humbuckle Jun 2015 Master J. You’re Insane: The Cha-Cha Slide is just a Party Song 
  12. DJ Dance Master J. Oct 2015 Eat this Funky Fat Data AUURTHUR: Ancient Cultural Heritage of the Cha-Cha Slide :: Annals of Danceology
  13. Cynthia B. Nov 2018 Tall Tall Handsome Harry Cavemen :: Journal of Neanderthal Fan Fiction 
  14. Quarantino T. Jan 2016 Cattywampus Vector Space: A Novel Foot Placement Metric :: Journal of Footology
  15. Quarantino T. Apr 2020 Smooth Movement Effects on Front Pressure on Soft Ground :: Journal of Footology
  16. Shah J., Christopher N Oct 2002 Can Shoe Size Predict Penile Length? :: Pub Med

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Published by B McGraw

B McGraw has lived a long and successful professional life as a software developer and researcher. After completing his BS in spaghetti coding at the department of the dark arts at Cranberry Lemon in 2005 he wasted no time in getting a masters in debugging by print statement in 2008 and obtaining his PhD with research in screwing up repos on Github in 2014. That's when he could finally get paid. In 2018 B McGraw finally made the big step of defaulting on his student loans and began advancing his career by adding his name on other people's research papers after finding one grammatical mistake in the Peer Review process.

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