All posts tagged: Neanderthal tools

The Evolutionary Origins of Clothing

The Evolutionary Origins of Clothing

The naked human is a vulnerable creature. Lacking the fur of our mammalian ancestors and relatives, we have bare skin that offers little defense against the sun’s brutal rays or wind’s biting chill. So instead, we have had to invent a technology to replace our long-lost fur: “portable thermal protection,” as the archaeologist Ian Gilligan calls it or, more simply, clothing. Without clothing, humans would never have reached all seven continents. This technological breakthrough allowed our ancestors to live in Siberia during the height of the Ice Age, and to cross the frigid Bering Sea to the Americas some 20,000 years ago. But no clothing survives from this period. Not a single article of clothing much older than 5,000 years has ever been found, in fact. The hides and sinews and plant fibers worn by our ancestors all rotted away, leaving little physical trace in the archaeological record. Humans had to have worn clothing more than 5,000 years ago, of course. Of course! And in clever, indirect ways, experts have pieced together a surprising number …