The Economist reports (this is not online unless one is a premium subscriber) that the oldest beads found to date are approximately 75,000 years old. Is that the date of the first clothes, as well?
Mark Stoneking and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology used the molecular-clock technique to human lice. They discovered head lice and body lice first diverged into separate species 75,000 years ago. They believe with much justification that this proves humans first wore clothing 75,000 years ago.
The Economist also notes that 74,000 years ago a cataclysim stuck the earth:
SEVEN hundred and forty centuries ago, give or take a few, the skies darkened and the Earth caught a cold. Toba, a volcano in Sumatra, had exploded with the sort of eruptive force that convulses the planet only once every few million years. The skies stayed dark for six years, so much dust did the eruption throw into the atmosphere. It was a dismal time to be alive and, if Stanley Ambrose of the University of Illinois is right, the chances were you would be dead soon. In particular, the population of one species, known to modern science as Homo sapiens, plummeted to perhaps 2,000 individuals.
The proverbial Martian, looking at that darkened Earth, would probably have given long odds against these peculiar apes making much impact on the future. True, they had mastered the art of tool-making, but so had several of their contemporaries. True, too, their curious grunts allowed them to collaborate in surprisingly sophisticated ways. But those advantages came at a huge price, for their brains were voracious consumers of energy—a mere 2% of the body's tissue absorbing 20% of its food intake. An interesting evolutionary experiment, then, but surely a blind alley.
This survey will attempt to explain why that mythical Martian would have been wrong. It will ask how these apes not only survived but prospered, until the time came when one of them could weave together strands of evidence from fields as disparate as geology and genetics, and conclude that his ancestors had gone through a genetic bottleneck caused by a geological catastrophe.
The Economist later notes (again, not online) that this eruption stranded widely separated groups of Homo Sapiens and may have caused them to develop different genetic characteristics that we know today as "races."
If we assume the Creation story and subsequent events in Genesis are in fact older stories added to the Torah either by Moses* or a later editor (like Ezra), and these stories reflect mankind's earliest memories of its existence, what we find is a an "expulsion" from a naive state of existence to one that required clothing, closely followed in time by a flood myth and a Tower of Babel myth. The eruption of Toba could easily account for the latter two stories. Interestingly, dating of the first clothing and the eruption is separated by only a thousand or so years, about the same number of years that separate the Tower of Babel story from the expulsion.
Does this prove anything? No, it certainly does not.
But my bet is this won't stop certain kiruv/outreach organizations from using this information to "prove" the Torah is correct and therefore, divine. (Of course, they'll spin it in a way that preserves the Torah's timeline of a 6000 year old world, either alå Gerald Schroeder, or by rejecting the accuracy of all scientific dating techniques.)
Of course the 'gedolim' may put a kibosh on some of this. Science hasn't treated them very well, of late.
*Before you start to yell "Heretic!" realize that there are Rishonim and earlier sources who said exactly this.