Were Cavemen Nudists?

a caveman running naked and happy
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Without fabric-making technology, it seems hard to fathom that cavemen wore clothes in much the same way that we do now.

Popular cultural imagery tells us that Paleolithic man ran around in the buff, enjoying the feeling of freedom that came with it and only throwing on the occasional fur during the colder, winter months.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

A 2009 paper, written by Bent Sørensen, entitled Energy use by Eem Neanderthals, and published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, provides compelling evidence that fitted clothing was, in fact, extremely important to cavemen as a means of conserving much needed warmth and heat.

Even during the mild Eem interglacial period, heat loss was a severe problem that affected the very survival of Paleolithicman. Draping a little piece of animal fur across the shoulders would have done little to protect cavemen from the elements, especially the snow and driving rain, during even the mildest of winters.

Sørensen, in his paper, explains that it seems far more likely that cavemen wore clothes and footwear that was sewn tightly together, in order to keep their bodies nice and toasty warm.

Unfortunately, as romantic an ideal as it is, it was far too cold much of the year for cavemen to run around in the nude.

It also seems that peacocking, or dressing to impress and gain attention, is not the modern invention that we may have thought either.

As it turns out, Paleolithic man was dressing to impress tens of thousands of years before today’s A-list celebrities. Scientists claim that dark bird feathers were the must have accessory for the well-dressed caveman.

In a 2012 paper, published in PLOS ONE, palaeontologist Clive Finlayson et al asserted that cavemen sought out birds with dark plumage, separated the plumage from the wing bones, kept it intact and used the skin as a cape or headpiece.

The findings back up research from a team of scientists who, in 2011, also found evidence that cavemen liked to use bird feathers to accessorize and attract the attention of cavewomen.

While the idealistic image of cavemen running around naked and free is still an image that pervades popular culture, it seems that far from being nudists, cavemen were much more in themoldof fashion pioneers.

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Miko Cavemen

MIKO is a vigorous young man who can be very clever… with a spear!

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