So who invented human pockets?
The English word “pocket” comes from an old French word “poque” that is literally translated bag. In the 16th and 17th century, people did not have pockets in their clothing, instead men and women had bags that they attached to the outside of their clothing or hung on a piece of rope around their waist.
Inside they would put items such as money, jewellery and handkerchiefs. However, as these outside pockets increasingly became a target for thieves, by the 17th century, people started cutting slits in their pants and even dresses and inserting these “poques” inside the slits.
They flattened them to remove its purse like bulge and began sewing them on the cloth to help keep them in place.
This became the first pocket as we know it.
By the 18th century clothing was being manufactured with pockets including pants, jackets, vests and shirts. They even had pockets for specific purposes. They designed pockets to hold tickets and others to hold the “pocket-watch.”
Pockets were designed and created for a function.
But humans weren’t the first to come up with a pocket. Actually the sea otter had one of the first. Under each of its forearms it has two small pockets. They differ in size and purpose from the kangaroo pouch that is used to hold baby joeys.
Sea otters which live most of their lives in the water range between 14 and 45 kg (31 and 99 lb) and are found primarily in Northern Pacific waters on both sides of the ocean.
It doesn’t have blubber to keep it warm in the frigid ocean waters, instead it has the densest fur of any species of animal. It has flaps that cover its nose and ears as it makes deep ocean dives.
Its lungs are about 2.5 times larger than animals of the same size allowing them to search the ocean bottom for their food that includes snails, sea urchins and assorted clams. Their large lungs also help the sea otter float on water.
Since the pockets are not used to carry their young, what in the world does an Otter need pockets for?
Like humans, the sea otter stores valuables in it pockets. In one pocket the Otter puts its favorite rock that it uses to dislodge food on the ocean floor and to crack open the shells of snails and clams. It is one of the few animals to use tools.
Research has also shown that an Otter tends to use the same rock its whole life. If they accidentally drop the rock while swimming, they scour the bottom looking for the very rock they dropped.
And just like humans, in the second pocket they store snacks including smaller snails and clams.
So how did sea otters end up with pockets? The same way pants ended up with pockets — because of a designer and a creator.