Earliest evidence of humans using clothes were found in a cave in Morocco. Though skins and furs are unlikely to survive in deposits for hundreds of thousands of years the studies looking at the DNA of clothing lice have suggested clothes may have appeared as early as 170,000 years ago.
Experts analysed animal bones excavated in a series of digs spanning several decades at Contrebandiers Cave on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The cave has previously been revealed to contain the remains of early humans. They found 62 bones from layers dating to between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago that showed signs of having been turned into tools.
While the purpose of many of the tools remains unknown, the team found broad, rounded end objects known as spatulates that were fashioned from bovid ribs.
“Spatulate-shaped tools are ideal for scraping and thus removing internal connective tissues from leathers and pelts during the hide or fur-working process, as they do not pierce the skin or pelt,” the team said.
Sand fox, golden jackal and wildcat bones held further clues, showing cut marks associated with fur removal. The team also found a whale tooth, which appeared to have been used to flake stone. The bone tools could have been used to prepare leather for other uses, the combined evidence suggests it is likely – particularly for fur.
The team believed European Neanderthals and other sister species were making clothing from animal skins long before 120,000 years ago.
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