Scientists find world’s oldest colour — pink!

Science rocks! The discovery has given researchers more insight into the early years of life on Earth.

Should pink be a girl’s colour? While investigating 1.1 billion-year-old rocks, scientists discovered the oldest naturally occurring colour ever found. It was a bright, vivid pink.

What’s happening

While studying for her PhD at an Australian University, Dr Nur Gueneli crushed up some 1.1 billion-year-old rocks that had been found in the Sahara Desert. When she diluted the powder, she made an amazing discovery: it was pink. Scientists say that this is the oldest natural colour known to man.

Find out more

The colour comes from ancient organisms which lived under the sea, long before dinosaurs or animals ever existed. It is the equivalent of finding out the skin colour of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, said one of the researchers involved, only 10 times older.

Today, pink is generally seen as a girly colour. When babies are born, girls are often dressed in pink and boys in blue.

However, pink and blue were worn by both for hundreds of years. Sometimes pink was considered more masculine, because it came from red — which was seen as “more active, more aggressive,” says one colour expert.

The switch happened around 100 years ago, when shops began to try to sell more children’s clothes through colour-coding.

Should we still see pink as a colour for girls?

Some say…

Absolutely not! This discovery proves that pink is a fascinating, important colour that should be enjoyed by everyone. It is silly to suggest it can only be worn by half the population. What’s more, saying that it is for girls makes life difficult for boys who like pink. They should not have to risk being bullied for something as simple as a colour.

Others think…

Using colours as a symbol for gender can be useful. For example, it makes it easier to tell whether a baby is a boy or a girl when they are little. This avoids the awkwardness of calling boys “she” or vice versa! Besides, colours are used as symbols for all sorts of things: black for funerals, white for weddings. Why not pink for femininity?

You Decide

  1. Do you enjoy wearing the colour pink? Why or why not?

Activities

  1. As a class, write down all of the words you associate with pink, and all of the words you associate with blue. Then discuss: is one more positive than the other?

Some People Say...

“Pink isn’t just a color, it’s an attitude!”

Miley Cyrus

What do you think?

Word Watch

PhD
A Doctor of Philosophy. (Confusingly, you do not have to have to have studied philosophy to get a PhD.)
Diluted
Making something thinner. In this case, Dr Gueneli dissolved the powder in a liquid.
Organisms
A life form.
Masculine
Attributes which are traditionally associated with boys and men.
Aggressive
Forceful and determined.
Femininity
Attributes which are traditionally associated with girls and women.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.