Clothing has become such an integral part of human existence that it’s hard to imagine that our ancestors once used to walk naked on earth. Today, we have innumerable choices of clothing including various fabrics, design, type, size, colors, formal vs. informal and various styles. So, who invented clothing and when was clothing invented? Well, such questions are difficult to answer, as many centuries have passed since the time when clothing is estimated to have made its appearance on earth. Nonetheless, here’s what we know about who invented clothing.
Why clothing was developed?
Some theorists opine that clothing was developed as humans became conscious of their nakedness. However, there is little evidence to support this theory. The other more prominent theory is that clothing began to be used as it provided protection from the elements. The earliest of clothing was made using materials like leaves, grass, leather, animal fur, etc. Modern day textiles came much later. In earlier times, clothing could have provided protection from cold weather, heat, sun, and rain. It could have also protected against insects, rash-causing plants, rough surfaces, thorns and prickles, etc. It can be said that clothing was invented as a need more than anything else.
When was clothing invented?
There is still no conclusive evidence as to when clothing was invented. Unlike other archeological artifacts that can be dated, clothes usually degrade completely over the years. They turn to dust with time, which is why it is not possible to exactly determine when clothing was invented. However, researchers have used indirect methods to ascertain the age when clothes first started being used. For example, a study of body lice indicated that clothing could have emerged around 170,000 years ago. Some specifies of body lice only live on clothes, which can indicate towards use of clothing.
However, even the lice study is unable to show us the complete picture. A number of estimates and theories have come up, which indicate use of clothes anywhere between 40,000 years to 3 million years.
Who invented clothing?
According to some theorists, clothing may have come into existence when Homo sapiens migrated north from the warm African region. The cold weather of the north may have prompted them to use some type of protection for their bodies. Gradually, this may have led to the invention of clothing. However, there is inferential evidence that clothing was used even by the Neanderthals. Archeologists have discovered bone and ivory needles that have dated back to around 30,000 BC. It is theorized that these tools were used for sewing items like fur and leather. Dyed flax fibers have also been discovered, which are estimated to date back to 34,000 BC.
As is clear from above facts, we only have theories and inferential evidence to find the date of invention of clothes. Hopefully, more advanced methods will be available in the future, which can help us find who invented clothing and when.