BEIJING (AFP) - Two pairs of 3,300-year-old trousers found in China's far western Xinjiang region may be the world's oldest, state-media reported on Friday.
Archeologists in May found animal-fur menswear on the bodies of two mummies, identified as male shamans in their 40s, the state-run China Daily cited scientists as saying.
An international team is working together to repair and preserve the two pairs - which are the oldest yet discovered with a clear resemblance to modern trousers, the report said.
"They were almost of the same shape as today's trousers," the report quoted Lu Enguo, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology in Xinjiang, as saying.
Even older apparel resembling trousers have previously been discovered in the region, but they were made according to a more simple design and lacked a piece of fabric covering the crotch, Lu added.
Archaeologists believe nomads living in the area invented trousers for horse riding.
The nomads "at first wore a kind of trousers that only had two legs," said Xu Dongliang, deputy head of the institute, adding that "crotches were sewed on to the legs, and gradually other styles, such as bloomers, appeared".
Previously, the oldest pants found with a crotch were just 2,800 years old, the report said.