Monday, September 20, 2021

The oldest clues to the advent of human clothing in Morocco are found in a Moroccan cave


It is easy to take clothing's existence and necessity for survival as a given. This includes clothes like shirts, pants, dresses, skirts and dresses, and even socks. It all started somewhere.

Scientists said Thursday that artifacts discovered in a Moroccan cave dating back to 120,000 years ago suggest that humans made specialized bone tools and skinned animals before using tools to make fur and leather.

They added that the Contrebandiers Cave items, which are located approximately 800 feet (250m) from Temara's Atlantic coast, may be the oldest known evidence of clothing in the archaeological record.

Our species, Homo Sapiens, was first discovered in Africa more than 300,000. Later, it spread worldwide. Humankind's first clothing invention was a significant milestone in cultural and cognitive evolution.

"We assume that clothing was integral in the expansion of our species to cold habitats," stated Emily Hallett, evolutionary archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (Germany).

Scientists discovered 62 tools made of animal bones. They also found a pattern of cut marks in the bones of three small carnivores - a wildcat, jackal, and fox - which indicated that they were fur-skinned and not meat. Wild cattle bones and antelope bones suggest that these skins may have been used for leather making, while the meat was consumed.

Eleanor Scerri (also of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) said that clothing is an original human invention. "We wear clothes to keep warm or protect our skin. Scerri said that clothes are also used symbolically to show something about us, and also meet a multitude of social conventions that align with diverse cultures.

Cave artifacts are from a time when personal adornment was common and other signs of symbolic expression were evident at many archaeological sites. The cave did not contain any prehistoric clothing, but fur, leather, and other organic clothing materials that are extremely perishable.

These tools were made in a time when the cave was occupied from roughly 120,000 years ago to approximately 90,000 years back. It is not clear what the clothing they made. Tools with a wide, rounded end are of particular interest, also known as spatulate tools.

"Striations can be seen on spatulate bone tools due to repeated skin contact. The sheen on the ends is due to the use of bone tools against skin. This shape of bone tools is still used to prepare pelts today because they don't pierce skin and are durable. They also remove connecting tissues without causing damage to the pelt." Hallett stated.

The oldest evidence of Homo sapiens clothing is bone needles, which are approximately 45,000 to 40,000 years old and were found in Siberia. Researchers believe that clothing production began thousands of years ago, even though archeological evidence does not support this hypothesis.

Other researchers have also done genetic studies on clothing lice to suggest that clothing originated in Africa around 170,000 years ago. The researchers also believe that Neanderthals made clothing in Eurasia, which is a close human relative who arrived before Homo sapiens. This is based on the cold areas they lived in. The researchers cited evidence that Neanderthals made leather-working bone tools around 50,000 years ago.


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