Study Traces Lice/Human Evolution to Pinpoint When Humans Started Wearing Clothes
January 10, 2011 1:31 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Jeff Gage, Florida Museum of Natural History)
Researchers concluded that it was 170,000 years ago
University of Florida
researchers have discovered that humans first started wearing clothes approximately 170,000 years ago by tracing the evolution of lice.
David Reed, study leader and associate curator of mammals at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus, along with Melissa Toups, co-author from
who was previously with the University of Florida, and Andrew Kitchen, co-author from
Pennsylvania State University
who used to be with the University of Florida as well, have found than humans started wearing clothes 170,000 years ago in order to migrate out of Africa.
Researchers were able to come to this conclusion by tracing
the evolution of lice
. Lice are used in this particular study because they "stranded on lineages of hosts" over long periods of time. Changes in the parasite allow researchers to understand changes in evolutionary time.
"We wanted to find another method for pinpointing when humans might have first started wearing clothing," said Reed. "Because they are so well adapted to clothing, we know that body lice or clothing lice almost certainly didn't exist until clothing came about in humans."
In 2003, Mark Stoneking, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, conducted a lice study that concluded that humans first began wearing clothes approximately 107,000 years ago. Now the University of Florida researchers are saying otherwise.
Researchers used unique data sets from lice and
in order to make their new estimate of 170,000 years. University of Florida researchers concluded that modern humans began wearing clothes 70,000 years before migrating to higher latitudes and
. This migration occurred about 100,000 years ago. Also, the study found that humans began wearing clothes way after losing their body hair, which was about 1 million years ago according to genetic skin-coloration research.
"It's interesting to think humans were able to survive in Africa for hundreds of thousands of years without clothing and without body hair, and that it wasn't until they had clothing that modern humans were then moving out of Africa into other parts of the world," said Reed.
This new study does have a few weak spots though, because archaic hominins did not leave behind clothing lice that could participate in the study as well. So this study does not take into account that archaic hominins outside of Africa could have been clothed somehow around 800,000 years ago. These archaic humans were able to live for generations outside of Africa while only modern humans stayed until clothing was invented.
"The things that may have made us much more successful in that endeavor hundreds of thousands of years later were technologies like the controlled use of fire, the ability to use clothing, new hunting strategies and new stone tools," said Reed.
Ian Gilligan, lecturer in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University, noted that modern humans probably began making clothing after experiencing
180,000 years ago.
"The new result from this lice study is an unexpectedly early date for clothing, much older than the earliest solid archaeological evidence, but it makes sense," said Gilligan. "It means modern humans probably started wearing clothes on a regular basis to keep warm when they were first exposed to Ice Age conditions."
was published in
Molecular Biology and Evolution
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: You would think....
1/10/2011 7:09:08 PM
Yep, unless they are volunteering to cut it. We old folks really like a well kept lawn.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
Study: Dig Reveals Humans May Have Evolved in Israel
December 31, 2010, 10:57 AM
UPDATED: Fox News Tells Reporters to Deny Earth Has Ever Warmed or Cooled
December 17, 2010, 7:00 PM
Report: Huge CO2 Release Sped Up Ice Age Melt
August 30, 2010, 6:23 AM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Windows 10 Hits 75 Million Users; Grows Nearly 4x as Fast as Windows 7
August 28, 2015, 10:22 PM
Kentucky Man Faces up to 10 Years in Prison for Shooting Drone Trespasser
August 13, 2015, 2:58 PM
Microsoft's Flagship Windows10 Lumias Rumored to Pack 25 Minute Charge Times
August 31, 2015, 8:13 PM
"KeyRaider" Hits 225,000+ iPhones, Mobile Malware no Longer Just a Droid Thing
September 1, 2015, 11:50 PM
Microsoft Announces $499 Xbox One "ELITE", w/ High-End Controller, Hybrid HDD
August 31, 2015, 3:29 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information