Origins of Clothing
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This paper considers the origin of clothing. The reasons behind the invention of clothing are also discussed. Methods that were used to study the origins of clothing by anthropologists are also given. Clothes are materials that are made of natural and synthetic fibers that are worn by humans. They were tried initially just as covers. Later they proved to be realistic body covers. The ancient people wore them for reasons of magic, prestige and cult purposes. The clothing was made from natural materials of leaves, fur, animal skin, and grass amongst others. That is how clothing came into existence.
There is no exact date regarding when clothes were invented or came into use. Anthropologists have in the past carried out research into this. Their findings vary. One group conducted research based on the genetics of lice, which only survives in humans who wear clothes; they approximated the date to be 107,000 years ago. Another group undertook a similar research. They also used the lice methodology. Their findings indicated that clothes were first worn in approximately 500,000 years ago. Nevertheless, there is some uncertainty regarding the exact period since the two studies depict different answers on the aspect. It however is believed with consensus of the scientists that clothes came into being between 100,000 and 500,000 years ago. This is based on the two studies conducted.
The following are the reasons for the invention of clothing. It was invented to provide cover to the human body owing to the harsh weather conditions due to change in climates. Exposure to the elements of the ecosystem was also another reason that necessitated the invention. By doing so, humans got a reprieve from many acts. For instance, clothing provided protection against exposure to insects, harsh weather, vegetation, and against injuries from falling. Clothing also offered protection against the influence of harmful rays caused by radiation. From the foregoing, it was therefore necessary to invent clothes.
The developments regarding invention of clothes had an immense influence on the lives of people . Their welfare hugely improved. It provided safety. In case of any accidents arising from biking or any kind of falling, the clothes provided a soft landing thereby minimizing the intensity of the injuries suffered. Protection against extreme weather conditions was also a notable achievement. The human body functions best under optimal weather conditions. This allows the body cells a favorable internal environment upon which to execute various roles. Exposure to extreme conditions could hamper the effective functioning of the body organs. However, due to the invention of clothing, warmth could be attained during winters therefore offering the body a favorable condition for it to function.
The invention of clothing also introduced various uses of clothing for many social and cultural reasons. Clothes have been used for cultural and gender differentiation. Some cultures have different attires for the two genders. In other jurisdictions some attires are reserved for given classes of persons. Judges, army chiefs, security agencies, do have their classes of clothing that are distinct to them only. In schools, different uniforms do exist. On the religious front, clothes tell about different faiths. Muslims have their attire; Bishops also conform to some mode of dressing. The invention of clothing therefore introduced other meanings to dressing other than for the initial primary reasons of protection and safety as earlier envisaged.
In the study on early clothing, or the history of clothing, archeologists have of course had a difficult task since textiles are difficult to preserve. This has however been overcome thanks to the improved technological advancements. Modern methods were used to study lice. Louse is an insect that lives as a parasite on the human body. It however may stay on clothes for warmth for it to survive. It must therefore dwell on a human body that is clothed. It is by the study on the genetics of this parasite that researchers were able to determine the period when they came into existence. This means that clothing came into being at the period when the first lice was also discovered. It is therefore by studying lice that data regarding clothing could be discovered.
Another technique for studying the history of clothing involves examining the past records. These can be found in archives, libraries and other areas that could provide evidence. By studying the documents that contain data or information concerning clothing it is possible to access the required information on when clothes were invented. Examining of other materials, which act as complimentary to clothing would also serve to provide the data. These include needles or fibers that can only be found in clothing. Therefore, the study must serve to indicate the periods as to when clothes were first worn or came into being. This is therefore another method that can give directions regarding the history of clothing without necessarily studying clothing.
Clothing arose due to the need of protection to the body. This was initially from natural materials from plants, notably leaves. Animal products like skin and fur, among others were also used. This has since improved to the present system where modern materials and tools are used to manufacture clothes from fibers and fur. Clothing has also had a wide range of uses depending on culture, class, and religious beliefs. Clothing has thereby immensely developed in regards to materials, methods of production and the roles in the modern society.