Skip to comments.Human ancestors used fire one million years ago, archaeologist find
Posted on 04/02/2012 2:43:04 PM PDT by Red Badger
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.
The research will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on April 2.
Wonderwerk is a massive cave located near the edge of the Kalahari where earlier excavations by Peter Beaumont of the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, South Africa, had uncovered an extensive record of human occupation. A research project, co-directed by U of T's Chazan and Liora Kolska Horwitz of Hebrew University, has been doing detailed analysis of the material from Beaumont's excavation along with renewed field work on the Wonderwerk site. Analysis of sediment by lead authors Francesco Berna and Paul Goldberg of Boston University revealed ashed plant remains and burned bone fragments, both which appear to have been burned locally rather than carried into the cave by wind or water. The researchers also found extensive evidence of surface discoloration that is typical of burning.
"The control of fire would have been a major turning point in human evolution," says Chazan. "The impact of cooking food is well documented, but the impact of control over fire would have touched all elements of human society. Socializing around a camp fire might actually be an essential aspect of what makes us human."
More information: Microstratigraphic evidence of in situ fire in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape Province, South Africa, by Francesco Berna et al. PNAS (2012).
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Thanks Red Badger.
Imagine trying to approval if the EPA was around when Man first harnessed fire.
Have you read “Macroscope” by Piers Anthony?
>>Have you read Macroscope by Piers Anthony?<<
Probably. At one time I was an Anthony-phile. I read all of his “Incarnations” books in what now seems like a weekend. I know I read others from him as well as his style flowed well for me.
But that SOB is really arrogant.
>>Imagine trying to approval if the EPA was around when Man first harnessed fire.<<
We don’t need to imagine it — we are living it.
Did they determine the world will end in 2012, too?
Terry Pratchett said: Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.
My two scents.
Brains created fire. Fire created larger brains.
Posted too soon. Cooked meat & oysters.
I'm more of a history reader now. I'm lucky. I drive between one and two thousand miles each 5 day week on service calls that take less than an hour on average. They provide the vehicle and fuel. I've listened to four audio books per month for the past ten years(I pick the longest unabridged books I can find).
Sort of. Cooking food meant that body energy that had been used for digestion of raw meat and vegetation could now be used for other purposes, and allowed the development of larger brains. Larger brains figured out better ways to get food and to defeat predators, and even more calories allowed even larger brains. And so on, at least until there were Democrats.
>>Brains created fire. Fire created larger brains.<<
MMMM! Grilled brains...
“The control of fire would have been a major turning point in human evolution,” says Chazan. “The impact of cooking food is well documented
An even greater advantage to controling fire is that you can set your rival cave dwellers on fire.
At one time I was an Anthony-phile. I read all of his Incarnations books in what now seems like a weekend.
The first few (maybe the first three or four) were alright. After that they got new-agey and preachy. I kept reading just because I had read the previous ones. I quit partway through the one where God was an impotent sleeping lout and a young girl was chosen to take his place.
MMMM! Grilled brains...
I like you, you’re twisted!
John W. Campbell!!!
The man who singlehandedly took the genre of Science Fiction from silly B.E.M. (Bug Eyed Monsters) to a thinking man’s genre of reflection and consideration. He REJECTED many of the submissions of Asimov and Heinlein (and many of we now consider masters of SF) from what was then “Astounding Science Fiction” (later to be Analog Science Fiction and Fact, edited by The Good Doctor).
By demanding the same literary litmus tests of SF as for other genres (and demanding they exceed other “pulps”), Campbell propelled SF from teen-geek fringe to the mainstream.
There isn’t a single modern SF movie, book or extension that doesn’t owe Campbell for its very existence.
The best example of what a great editor can do with a great writer is “Nightfall.” A short, yet compelling drama. The fact that drama is set in an SF backdrop is almost irrelevant.
I thought you were talking about Jack Campbell.