Which came first, the pallet or the fork-lift?
This question was first posed decades ago by the earliest pallet industry pioneers such as the late Bill Sardo, the first President of the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association.
The answer seemingly depends on how we define a pallet.
If one is to follow the definition at Dictionary.com, "a small, low, portable platform on which goods are placed for storage or moving, as in a warehouse or vehicle." Then I would go for the pallet first theory.
The question then becomes one of how people in the pre-forklift era moved the things.