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Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World’s Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave


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Smithsonian, Magazine

Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World’s Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave

Humans likely sported clothes made of jackal, fox and wildcat skins some 120,000 years ago

Brian Handwerk Science Correspondent September 16, 2021

 Fur is a controversial fashion statement these days. But stepping out in a wildcat cape or jackal wrap was de rigueur for Pleistocene humans, according to the recent discovery of a 120,000-year-old leather and fur production site that contains some of the oldest archaeological evidence for human clothing.

Homo sapiens at the site first made and wore clothes around the onset of an Ice Age which may suggest that, even in relatively mild Morocco, clothes were adopted as a way to keep warm. But the invention of animal-based apparel also corresponds with the appearance of personal adornments, like shell beads, which hints that prehistoric clothing, like today’s styles, could have been about style as well as functionality.

Emily Hallett, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, didn’t set out to investigate where and when humans started wearing clothes, which decompose and vanish after a few thousand years at most. Initially interested in diet, she was examining bones to see which animals Pleistocene humans ate, and how they butchered them, in Contrebandiers Cave on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast.   :snip: 

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