Scientists find evidence of humans making clothes 120,000 years ago

From the medieval fashion for pointy shoes to Victorian waist-squeezing corsets and modern furry onesies, what we wear is a window to our past.

Now researchers say they have found some of the earliest evidence of humans using clothing in a cave in Morocco, with the discovery of bone tools and bones from skinned animals suggesting the practice dates back at least 120,000 years.

Dr Emily Hallett, of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, the first author of the study, said the work reinforced the view that early humans in Africa were innovative and resourceful

“Our study adds another piece to the long list of hallmark human behaviours that begin to appear in the archaeological record of Africa around 100,000 years ago,” she said.

While skins and furs are unlikely to survive in deposits for hundreds of thousands of years, previous studies looking at the DNA of clothing lice have suggested clothes may have appeared as early as 170,000 years ago – probably sported by anatomically modern humans in Africa.

The latest study adds further weight to the idea that early humans may have had something of a wardrobe.

Writing in the journal i Science, Hallett and colleagues report how they 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.

Hallett said she began studying the animal bones in 2012 because she was interested in reconstructing the diet of early humans and exploring whether there had been any changes in diet associated with changes in stone tool technology.

However, she and her colleagues found 62 bones from layers dating to between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago that showed signs of having been turned into tools.

Keep reading


For thousands of years, humans have lit up around the world, enjoying the high that comes from cannabis.

But the controversial politics surrounding the drug has made it difficult for scientists to figure out its genetic origins. Where did cannabis come from and how did it evolve into the potent green that brings us pleasure?

Scientists finally have an answer to that question — and the evolution of modern-day cannabis and how it diverged from its very close relative hemp is even wilder than you might think.

New research published Friday in the journal Science Advances used genetics to trace the ancient birthplace of Cannabis sativa, from which we harvest pot today.

The cultivation of marijuana has much longer roots than we previously understood, according to the study — including evidence that our cultivation of pot may have led to the extinction of pure, wild, ancient strains of cannabis.

Cannabis “is one of the first cultivated crop species,” Luca Fumagalli, a co-author on the study from the University of Lausanne’s Laboratory for Conservation Biology, tells Inverse.

Keep reading

Mystery Of The 100 Ton ‘Boxes’ At The Serapeum Of Saqqara

Located North West of the Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, we find the Serapeum of Saqqara. According to archaeologists, it was the burial-place of the Apus Bulls, literally speaking the living manifestations of the Egyptian God Ptah. This necropolis found near Memphis, Egypt is believed to have been built sometime around 1300 BCE, by Ramesses II.

Ever since its discovery in 1850 the Serapeum of Saqqara has puzzled archaeologists and researchers and the tunnels that have been unearthed since have been the subject of debate among many. This majestic ancient labyrinth is home to 25 megalithic stone ‘boxes’, weighing between 70 to 100 tons

Part of the megalithic boxes, the 30-ton lids were made of the same blocks of stone. Upon discovery, some of these were blown open with the aid of gunpowder, only to find the inside of these giant boxes empty. Researchers have no idea what their actual purpose was, or how these giant boxes were made thousands of years ago…

Interestingly, most of these boxes are made of rose granite, an extremely hard rock mined at a quarry located about 800 kilometers from Saqqara while other boxes were made from an even harder material, diorite, found even further away from Saqqara.

The precision of the boxes is another characteristics that has left researchers or anyone who visits the place, baffled, with deviations registering in the thousandths of an inch.

Extreme precision, thousands of years ago.

Keep reading

Ancient Tablet Shows Pythagorean Theorem 1000 Years Before His Birth

An almost 4000-year-old clay tablet displays an early form of applied geometry practiced by the ancient Babylonians, thousands of years before the math was initially thought to have been discovered.

Did The Babylonians Have Geometry?

Trigonometry was largely understood to have been first discovered by the Greeks around the second century BCE. The word itself came from a combination of the Greek words for ‘earth’ and ‘measure.’

Prominent figures such as Euclid and Pythagoras created foundations and theorems that were instrumental in advancing the understanding of mathematics throughout the western world. Some of their work is still being used in current modern applications, such as Pythagoras’ theorem regarding right triangles.

While the Greeks may have had the greatest impact worldwide with their mathematical discoveries, it would eventually be revealed that they were not the first. In 2017, researchers at the University of New South Wales found a famous Babylonian tablet from 3,700 years ago, known as “Plimpton 322,” (seen below) that contained a trigonometric table inscribed on it. It had sequences of numbers that are known as Pythagorean triples, despite it being thousands of years before Pythagoras lived when the tablet was used.

Keep reading

Archaeologists Claim They’ve Discovered the Trojan Horse in Turkey

Turkish archaeologists claim they have found what they believe are pieces of the Trojan Horse. According to a report by, Turkish archaeologists excavating the site of the historical city of Troy on the hills of Hisarlik have unearthed a large wooden structure. Historians and archaeologists think what they have discovered are remains of the legendary Trojan Horse.

The excavations brought to light dozens of fir planks and beams up to 15 meters (49 feet) long. The remnants were assembled in a strange form, that led the experts to suspect they belong to the Trojan Horse. The wooden structure was inside the walls of the ancient city of Troy.

Keep reading

Mysterious skull fossils expand human family tree — but questions remain

Fossils found in China and Israel dating from around 140,000 years ago are adding to the ranks of hominins that mixed and mingled with early modern humans.

The fossils from Israel hint that a previously unknown group of hominins, proposed to be the direct ancestors of Neanderthals, might have dominated life in the Levant and lived alongside Homo sapiens1,2. Meanwhile, researchers studying an extremely well-preserved ancient human skull found in China in the 1930s have controversially classified it as a new species — dubbed Dragon Man — which might be an even closer relative to modern humans than are Neanderthals3,4.

But both findings have sparked debate among scientists. The studies are based on analyses of the size, shape and structure of fossilized bones — methods that are subject to individual judgement and interpretation. As is often the case for fossil finds, there is no DNA evidence.

Separating early hominin specimens into unique species, working out if and how they interacted with others, and tracing their evolution are all difficult and contentious: “It’s very messy,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, an anthropologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

Keep reading

Sensational archaeological find uncovers “Ukrainian Stonehenge” in eastern Ukraine

A team of Ukrainian archaeologists has almost completed excavations of an ancient kurgan (burial mound, sacred hill) which historians claim is older than the Egyptian pyramids.

The archaeologists state that this “Ukrainian Stonehenge”, an ancient burial ground, is more than 5,300-5,500 years old, dating back to the Bronze Age.

There are numerous kurgans scattered throughout eastern and southern Ukraine and archaeologists and historians are worried that, in many cases, urban sprawl will lead to the destruction of these ancient burial mounds. Thus, they are rushing to excavate as many of them as possible in order to save and preserve priceless items from bulldozers and rapid urbanization.

Such a mound was found near the village of Novooleksandrivka, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Items and artefacts discovered in this almost eight-meter hill bear witness to the flourishing of Indo-Aryan tribes who developed an elaborate burial tradition used by the entire population. These tombs illustrate unique characteristics, not only in terms of their number, density and scale, but also in terms of details such as burial chambers, burial gifts and mummified bodies.

Keep reading

Archaeologist Solves Mystery of the Phaistos Disc in Greece

The mystery of the Phaistos Disc has been “solved by 99 percent” says linguist, archaeologist and coordinator of the program Erasmus of Crete Technological Institute; Gareth Owens.

Owens has devoted 30 years in trying to solve the puzzle. The Minoan goddess of love, Astarte, who is linked to the Eastern goddess Ashtart, is the key figure that unlocks the mystery of the Phaistos Disc, Owen argues.

The Phaistos Disc is a disk of fired clay from the Minoan palace of Phaistos on the island of Crete, possibly dating to the middle or late Minoan Bronze Age (second millennium B.C.).

Keep reading

2,800-Year-Old Castle From Urartu Civilization Found in Turkey

A 2,800-year-old castle built by an enigmatic ancient civilization known as the Urartu, or people of Ararat, was recently unearthed by Turkish archaeologists from Van Yuzuncu Yil University.

The structures date back to the time of Urartu, a kingdom that clashed with the Assyrians in the first millennium B.C. Located in the age-old heartland of the Armenian people, it is considered the place where the ethnic Armenian identity was born.

The ancient kingdom of the Urartu spanned what is now modern-day Armenia, eastern Turkey and northwestern Iran.

Keep reading

New prehistoric human unknown to science discovered in Israel

A new type of early human previously not known to scientists has been discovered in Israel, Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University researchers announced Thursday as their extraordinary findings appeared in the prestigious academic journal Science.Researchers believe the new “Homo” species intermarried with Homo sapiens and was an ancestor of the Neanderthals.Tens of thousands of years ago, the busy central region of what is now a densely populated and traffic-jammed part of Israel, was a landscape that very much resembled the African savanna. It featured rhinos, wild horses and cattle and other large animals that were perfect game for ancient hunter-gatherers.The site of Nesher Ramla, a few kilometers from the modern-day city, was probably close to a water reservoir where early humans could hunt animals. Today, the dig site is filled with many animal bones, stone tools for making fire and butchering, and human bones, including skulls, TAU anthropologist Prof. Israel Hershkovitz said.

Keep reading