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Clothing is a term that refers to a covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on physical, social and geographic considerations. Physically, clothing serves many purposes it can serve as protection from the elements, it can enhance safety during hazardous activities such as hiking and cooking. It protects humans from rough surfaces by providing a barrier between the skin and the environment. Clothes can protect humans from insect bites or splinters. Clothes can regulate temperature in the cold or heat. Further, it can provide a hygienic barrier, keeping toxins away from the body and limiting the transmission of germs. Clothing also provides protection from harmful UV radiation. There is no easy way to determine when clothing was first developed, but some information has been inferred by studying lice. The body louse specifically lives in clothing, and diverge from head lice about 107,000 years ago, suggesting that clothing existed at that time. Another theory is that modern humans are the only survivors of several species of primates who may have worn clothes and that clothing may have been used as long ago as 650 thousand years ago. Other louse-based estimates put the introduction of clothing at around 42,000-72,000 BP. The primary function of clothing is to improve the comfort of the wearer. In hot climates, clothing provides protection from sunburn or wind damage, while in cold climates its thermal insulation properties are generally more important. Shelter usually reduces the functional need for clothing. For example, coats, hats, gloves, shoes, socks, and other superficial layers are normally removed when entering a warm home, particularly if one is residing or sleeping there. Similarly, clothing has seasonal and regional aspects, so that thinner materials and fewer layers of clothing are generally worn in warmer seasons and regions than in colder ones.

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