Human evolution News

Timing of human use of fire pushed back by 300,000 years

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bottom of cave/R. Yates

From “Evidence That Human Ancestors Used Fire One Million Years Ago” (ScienceDaily, Apr. 2, 2012), we learn,

An international team led by the University of Toronto and Hebrew University has identified the earliest known evidence of the use of fire by human ancestors. Microscopic traces of wood ash, alongside animal bones and stone tools, were found in a layer dated to one million years ago at the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.

“The analysis pushes the timing for the human use of fire back by 300,000 years, suggesting that human ancestors as early as Homo erectus may have begun using fire as part of their way of life,” said U of T anthropologist Michael Chazan, co-director of the project and director of U of T’s Archaeology Centre.

Chazan suggests,

Socializing around a camp fire might actually be an essential aspect of what makes us human.

Hmm. An odd way of putting it. Another way is, being human enables us to build a campfire to socialize around.

6 Replies to “Timing of human use of fire pushed back by 300,000 years

  1. 1
    Jon Garvey says:

    No doubt fire helped those early men to survive the Permo-Carboniferous Glaciation. Lucky there were lots of new coal deposits for them to burn in their central-heating boilers.

  2. 2
    SCheesman says:

    John Garvey:

    No doubt fire helped those early men to survive the Permo-Carboniferous Glaciation. Lucky there were lots of new coal deposits for them to burn in their central-heating boilers.

    I was hoping someone would come up with a funny comment. It’s not as much fun here at UD since all the evolutionists were chased away.

  3. 3
    Jon Garvey says:

    Looks like the interval’s been shortened to 300K years in the title. I shall have to stop examining my coal for fossilised matches.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    In other news- the timing of front-loaded evolution has been pushed back to 1914-

    What’s new in Cosmic Ancestry gives us William Bateson, in the Presidential Address at the Australian meeting of the British Assiociation for the Advancement of Science, 1914:

    We must begin seriously to consider whether the course of Evolution can at all reasonably be represented as an unpacking of an original complex which contained within itself the whole range of diversity which living things present.

  5. 5
    David Tyler says:

    Time for a prediction:
    The evidences for humanity that have been discovered relating to Neanderthal Man will now be extended to include Homo erectus. The problem we need to wrestle with is not so much the lineage of human evolution, but why cultural evolution has apparently been breathtakingly slow.

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    Well with Homo erectus we can then derive the subspecies-> Homo erectus dysfunctionalus. And given our cultural evolution, that subspecies has been given a chance to remain a viable part of our population.

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