5 “New” Things That are Older Than You Think

5 "New" Things That are Older Than You Think

It’s quite remarkable how fast technology has evolved in such a short period of time, and how it has played a huge role in shaping our society. But even with hundreds and thousands of years separating us from our ancestors, human nature has remained basically the same. Want some proof? Here’s a list of things that you might think are modern inventions or concepts, but are actually quite ancient. Prepare to be surprised!


You read that right! Selfies aren’t as modern as you think. In fact, the first ever selfie was a daguerreotype taken all the way back in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, an American photographer. You can even find a copy of this selfie on his tombstone in Pennsylvania. However, selfies (although they weren’t called selfies back then) weren’t taken for leisure back then; instead, it was a popular and affordable method for photographers to practice their shots and photography techniques.

By the 1900s, Kodak debuted that “Brownie” box camera, which led to the more widespread popularity of selfies. People mounted their cameras on tripods and used mirrors to take pictures of themselves.


If you think lanyards are modern inventions to make it easier for people to hold their IDs, small gadgets, and keys, think again. Lanyards were already popular in the 15th century, although they weren’t used to hold ID cards in the olden days. Instead, the French military used lanyards to keep their weapons like guns, swords, and knives within easy reach. Sailors also used lanyards when adjusting the rigs of their ships, as well as in carrying tools while they climbed the mast to adjust or repair sails.

What’s relatively new are customized lanyards made of nylon or polyester. Back then, sailors and soldiers didn’t need personalization — they just needed to have something to keep their tools and weapons accessible, so they mostly used ropes and leather cords.

Plastic Surgery

The Edwin Smith Papyrus, which is a transcription of medical texts from ancient Egypt, holds one of the earliest records of plastic surgery to repair a broken nose. This was around 3000 to 2500 BC. There was also an Indian physician and surgeon named Sushruta who performed reconstructive surgeries in India as early as 600 BC. Doctors from Britain and Italy studied these ancient Indian methods of rhinoplasty and thus brought the concept of cosmetic surgery to the Western world.

Rap Battles

In the United States, rap music became popular in the 1970s and rap battles not soon after that. However, there was already a thing called “flyting” in 15th to 16th century Scotland. Flyting is not so much as rapping, however, but rather an exchange of insults delivered in verse form. The winners, much like in a rap battle, is determined by the audience applause. Now you have something to tell your friends when they say that rapping isn’t art!


Photobombing became a widespread concept in the early 2000s, with the rise of digital photography, photo-sharing, and social media. However, photobombers have been making their presence known since the past century. Even The Beatles were known to pull pranks and photobomb each other from time to time!

It was a little more difficult to pull off a decent photobombing attempt in the early days of the camera because it took a longer time to take proper photos back then — the photographer usually has enough time to shoo away the would-be photobomber. However, there is still a huge number of vintage photographs that feature apparent photobombers making the rounds in the Internet (their legitimacy is another matter).

We may be a significantly more technologically advanced society, but that doesn’t mean that we have a monopoly on ideas. Well, what else can we say to that but, “Humans will be humans.”

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