Skip to comments.Humans made fire 790,000 years ago: study
Posted on 10/28/2008 7:53:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
A new study shows that humans had the ability to make fire nearly 790,000 years ago, a skill that helped them migrate from Africa to Europe.
By analyzing flints at an archaeological site on the bank of the river Jordan, researchers at Israel's Hebrew University discovered that early civilizations had learned to light fires, a turning point that allowed them to venture into unknown lands.
A previous study of the site published in 2004 showed that man had been able to control fire -- for example transferring it by means of burning branches -- in that early time period. But researchers now say that ancient man could actually start fire, rather than relying on natural phenomena such as lightning.
That independence helped promoted migration northward, they say.
The new study, published in a recent edition of Quaternary Science Reviews, mapped 12 archaeological layers at Gesher Benot Yaaqov in northern Israel.
"The new data shows there was a continued, controlled use of fire through many civilizations and that they were not dependent on natural fires," archaeologist Nira Alperson-Afil said on Sunday.
While they did not find remnants of ancient matches or lighters, Alperson-Afil said the patterns of burned flint found in the same place throughout 12 civilizations was evidence of fire-making ability, though the methods used were unclear.
And because the site is located in the Jordan valley -- a key route between Africa and Europe -- it provides evidence of the human migration, she said.
"Once they mastered fire to protect themselves from predators and provide warmth and light, they were secure enough to move into and populate unfamiliar territory," Alperson-Afil said.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Mon Oct 27, 9:34 AM ET -- Excavations at the Gesher Benot Ya'qov site. A new study shows that humans had the ability to make fire nearly 790,000 years ago, a skill that helped them migrate from Africa to Europe. (Prof. Naama Goren-Inbar/Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Handout/Reuters)
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Tou know, I can’t build a fire these days without doing the Tom Hanks Castaway thing every time.
Besides, if this happened today, we'd never be able to use it because of the liability issues involved.
And think of all the greenhouse gases prehistoric man created. Tsk, tsk. Shame on them.
And one day later they invented the first kegger
Here in Kaleeeeeeeeefornia one can get as much as a $1000 PER DAY fine for using your wood stove...
790,000 years ago? Now, that can’t *possibly* be right...
The pile of ash must be enormous by now.
It was actually believed to be earlier than that...Al Gore’s ancestor scolded at least every tribe within a 1 mile vicinity so they made fires when he wasn’t looking.
Good read. Thanks for your posts.
“While they did not find remnants of ancient matches or lighters”
LOL - oddly enough, the lighter was invented by a german alchemist just a couple of centuries ago.
I say odd, because it seemes so obvious - bolt an iron wheel and a piece of flint to an oil lamp.
But nobody did it until recently, and the guy who did, invented the thing because he kept blowing up his lab mucking with flint and steel after he turned on the gas.
“The first lighter, Döbereiner’s lamp, was invented by Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner in 1823. It stayed in production until 1880.”
interesting. of course, you may have just opened the door for 790K old “pull my finger” and “fart lighting” jokes...
You’re most welcome.
//But nobody did it until recently, and the guy who did, invented the thing because he kept blowing up his lab mucking with flint and steel after he turned on the gas.//
Uhm no, Caveman did same thing in huge cavern loaded with natural gas.
“The lighter is exhibited in the Deutsches Museum and in the old pharmacy in the Heidelberg Castle.”
My head is about to explode. I was in Heidelberg castle last year, wife and four kids in tow, and skipped the pharmacy tour.
This is interesting, because the Andaman Island Negritos, thought to be a relict population of the most primitive early line of out-of-Africa migrators, can’t make fire, but must carry it around as they move their camps.
Surely they didn’t make fire without a massive goobermint program, and perhaps an expensive “bailout” to boot?
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