At Nightline, we pride ourselves on asking the Big Questions, looking at the Big Issues, covering the Big Stories. So it was only a matter of time until we turned to tonight's Big Question: What did cavemen and women really wear?
Now, I'm sure that virtually all of you think that you know the answer. Furs, right? The evidence is everywhere: The Flintstones, The Clan of the Cave Bear movies and others like that, and, most important for a whole generation of young boys, that poster of Raquel Welch from the movie "One Million Years B.C." What more evidence would you need?
Now, we all knew that cavefolks really didn't wear fur bikinis like Raquel did, but that whole idea is pretty embedded in our conception of our forebears. After all, what else was there? They got up, went out and killed something large and furry, ate what they could, and wore the rest. Not a pretty image when you stop and think about it, but what was the alternative?
Well, Robert Krulwich has found a remarkable woman who found evidence that will rock our images. In fact, museum displays, not to mention scientific thinking, have already begun to change. And it's no coincidence that she worked for a time in the fashion industry. Now archaeologists and anthropologists had been looking at the same evidence for years. And they all reached the same conclusions. But this woman, and a friend of hers nicknamed Conan the Archaeologist, looked at that evidence, and noticed something that everyone else had missed. And what they saw is challenging all of the conventional wisdom.
Now this being a report by Robert Krulwich, it won't be that simple. No discussion of this issue would be complete without wondering about the weight of a woolly mammoth coat, Sid Caesar's historical accuracy, and what about the Paleolithic bunnies? Where do they fit in to all this? We'll try to answer all of these questions, and have a little fun at the same time. And who knows, it may make you look at that Raquel poster in a whole different way. Or not.
Leroy Sievers is executive producer of Nightline.