Evolution of Babywearing

Infant carriers exist in some form in every human society. It makes sense: our babies need to be carried and the people carrying them need to use their arms and hands for other work. The infant carrier is an amazing tool– but who invented it? Where did it come from? Some have speculated that it was invented at the same time as agriculture (10-12 kya) others that it was the first human invention (200 kya) alongside stone tools. Both are wrong.

No human group can claim credit for the invention of the infant carrier because it preceded the evolution of our species by millions of years. Without the infant carrier, our bipedal ancestors may have been a victim of natural selection. The Evolution of Babywearing will explore why humans need infant carriers when our nearest evolutionary relatives do not and how those differences can help us find when the infant carrier was invented and by who.

This simple, yet extraordinary, tool assisted with the development of the stone tool industry and the migrations out of Africa by archaic and later, modern humans. Each technological advancement and migration would have had an effect on the form and function of the infant carrier– as they do to this day. When today’s parents and caregivers reach for an infant carrier they are taking part in an action that echoes through millions of generations.

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