Wait, so you’re telling me Fred and Wilma Flintstone were the pioneers that invented recycling? When did this happen? When Pebbles was playing with BamBam, Dino was taking a nap, and Barney and Betty were staring passionately into each other’s eyes while laughing like hyenas? Ok, not exactly. BUT… mounting evidence does suggest that our ancestors were more “green” than what we realize.
As it turns out, the “green movement” is not a 21st century phenomenon. Back in prehistoric times, cavemen and women repurposed broken tools made of flint and bone to create new utensils. Researchers have found that recycling was vital for our ancestors’ survival, saving them time and energy to focus on things like smearing pictures of symbols on cave walls, discovering that bright thing called fire, and designing fashionable, one-shoulder rawhide dresses.
Still don’t believe me? Let’s talk numbers. Researchers found 200,000-year-old flint chips that were repurposed as silverware in a cave in Israel. This wasn’t a singular act of resourcefulness either. Some 10 perfect of tools found at the site were recycled in one way or another, each appearing to be in different places with different methods, ultimately determining that recycling was a part of their everyday lives. A conference was held in Israel at Tel Aviv University, where nearly 50 scholars from 10 countries gathered to compare notes and figures about this phenomenon.
While prehistoric recycling has come up in past studies, this was the first time experts actually met in person to discuss the issue in great depth. Researchers who attended the conference are said to be working on papers that will be published within the next year in a special volume of Quaternary International, a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the study of the last 2.6 million years of Earth’s history.
So as it turns out, Fred Flintstone was more resourceful than we thought. After all, he did need to save his energy for telling Wilma no when she wanted fake cash to go shopping with.