Bone Discovery Reveals Human Wore Clothes 120,000 years ago!

Human Clothing Evidence

So far, people have been under the impression that humans used to roam earth naked since the evolution of human, only up until the time humans manufacture clothes to cover their bodies. However, that impression could be proven wrong by the new human bone discovered by the scientists in Morocco.

According to the reports, the scientists in Morocco have discovered evidences of Fur and Leather clothing in the cave in Morocco which are cited to be around 120,000 years old. The evidences were reportedly found in the Contrebandiers Cave on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast, which the scientists are calling leather and fur production site.

The site is said to have provided some of the oldest archaeological evidences of human clothing. As of today, people were educated about the discovery of clothes during the ice age by Homo sapiens, to keep them warm in the bone chilling cold. However, the new discovery says something else.

The researchers found around sixty two bone tools to which apparently were used by humans to process and smooth down the skin of animals into fir and leather. The material extracted from the cave in Morocco has become the earliest proxy evidence in the archeological records of clothing. Moreover, the tools are reportedly 90,000 to 120,000 years old.

The discovery was announced by Emily Yuko Hallett, who is a postdoctoral scientist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History’s Pan African Evolution Research Group. Emily was not primarily looking for the clothing evidences, which the site has given the researcher. However, she was initially set out to find out more about the diet, for which she was examining the bone.

Emily was hoping to extract the information about what animal the Pleistocene humans ate in the cave and what means did they use to butcher the animal for consumption. To her surprise, Emily ended up with a better result as she discovered the oldest evidence of human clothing.

Other than the clothing pieces, which the researchers initially mistook to be animal’s skin which might have been consumed by the people back then, they also found finely carved tools as well. The cave on the coast of Morocco had homed dozens of carefully shaped tools which were found to be smoothed and polished in order to make leather and scraping of pets for production of fur.

Hallett shared, “I wasn’t expecting to find them. I was studying this assemblage initially to look at the animal bones to reconstruct the human diet.” She continued, “And when I was going through them — there were around 12,000 animal bones — I started to notice these bones that had a very different shape. It wasn’t a natural shape. And they had sheen on them, and they were shiny, and they had striations (grooves or scratches) on them.”

Emily introduced the world with the new found and important discovery as she published the study and its findings in the journal called iScience on Thursday.

Upon finding the tools, Emily explained that the tools extracted from the site are somewhat similar to the tools that clothing industry today “to process hides for leather and fur.” She further mentioned that such advanced have been found before, but at the younger archeological sites.

“Once those two pieces were there, bone tools used to prepare leather and fur and carnivore bones that have marks for fur removal, we put that together and realized that it’s most likely this was evidence for the making of clothing,” noted Hallett.

Confirming the discovery, Emily and other researchers on board also found some cut marks which were present on the fur in a pattern. This particular finding suggested that the humans living in those cave around 120,000 years ago used the discovered tools to remove the skin of the carnivore animals to obtain fur from them. The carnivores found in the cave include sand foxes, golden jackals and wildcats.

Besides, the technique used by the Pleistocene people also proves that they were carving animals to use their skin to cover their bodies. For instance, the researchers found incisions were carefully made to detach the skin from the animal in one complete piece. Other than that, no marks were found on the carnivore animals’ remains, which state that they were not butchered to be eaten.

On the other hand, the bones of other animals which were found were of cattle like animals, which also had different markings in a pattern, suggesting that they were processed for their meat for human consumption.

“I’m most excited about the skinning marks on the carnivores, because I haven’t seen this pattern described before. And my hope is that archaeologists working in much older sites also start looking for this pattern,” said Emily.

Hallett also explained the appearance of the tools recovered from the cave in Morocco. She described them shaped like a spatula, which according to her, must have been used to remove the connective tissue. The tools similar to the tools discovered from the archeological site are used even today by the leather workers.

“The reason people like using these tools is that they don’t pierce the skin, and so you’re left with an intact skin,” stated Emily. She further raised a concern saying, “There’s really no extreme temperatures or extreme climate conditions there in the past or today. So that makes me wonder was clothing strictly utilitarian or was it symbolic or was it a little bit of both?”

Commenting on the recent findings, another archeologist at the University of Sydney named Gilligan stated that the new study provides a “good archeological evidence for manufacturing of clothing.” The Sydney based archeologist further called the study significant. He stated that the age of those tools and fur, i.e., 120,000 years old, have perfectly co-incided with the beginning of the Ice Age.

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