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Denisovans: Masters of Complex Clothing 100,000+ Years Ago

The question of when the first people began creating clothes for themselves is one of the most difficult in anthropology. Furthermore, what these clothes looked like remains uncertain since little has endured from that era.

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It is believed that people, or more accurately, the ancestors of people, lost their fur around 1.2 million years ago, prompting them to utilize skins as a means to ward off the cold during the night.

A DNA study indicated that clothing emerged in humans approximately 107 thousand years ago, likely in a simple and primitive form. Presumably, the initial garments were akin to lightly tanned skins, wrapped around the body and possibly secured with leather laces to prevent them from slipping off.

Elena Rusakovich, IGN Altai State University

However, recent research by Russian scientists from Altai State University delved into artifacts found in Denisova Cave, the dwelling place of the Denisovans (Homo sapiens denisova or Homo altaensis) between 200 and 73 thousand years ago.

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The scientists successfully reconstructed the clothing worn by the Denisovans. Even during ongoing excavations in Denisova Cave, it became evident that the Denisovans were among the earliest people to craft sewn clothes, utilizing bone needles and tendons instead of threads.

They demonstrated adeptness in processing the fragile mineral chloritolite, creating exquisite bracelets. The Denisovans fashioned nearly authentic “costumes” featuring headdresses and shoes adorned with beads, shells, and feathers.

The primary garment was crafted from wolf skin and accompanied by laced armbands, while the shoes also featured laces.

Altai scientists replicated this costume using modern artificial materials that closely resembled the original appearance.

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As a species, Denisovans represent a cross between Neanderthals and modern humans. Initially discovered in Denisova Cave in Altai, their remains, though scarce, were later found in Yakutia, the Omsk region, and Tibetan China, each containing Denisovan DNA.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.