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Human ancestors used fire one million years ago, archaeologist find
www.physorg.com ^ | 04-02-2012 | Provided by University of Toronto

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).


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: archeology; arthurbrown; caveman; erectus; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; homoerectus; neanderthal
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This is the surveying area outside Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Credit: L. Milosavljevic

This is the view from the bottom of the excavated area towards the entrance to Wonderwerk Cave. Credit: R. Yates

This is a panoramic view of the entrance to Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Credit: H. Ruther

1 posted on 04/02/2012 2:43:08 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping!.......


2 posted on 04/02/2012 2:44:07 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

Thus causing global warming...

Damn tool-users! It is alll your fault!!!!


3 posted on 04/02/2012 2:46:54 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: Red Badger

There’s some quite interesting sci-fi concerning the history of man, from Larry Niven as well as the Halo series of video games and books.


4 posted on 04/02/2012 2:48:33 PM PDT by wastedyears (Signature for sale.)
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To: Red Badger
As a follow up from the One True Science Text: Science Made Stupid by Tom Weller (slight modification to bring up to date):

The Noble Savage vs. Civilized Man

Primitive man lived an idyllic existence, in harmony with nature and his fellows. The advance of civilization exacted a price: as the old ways were replaced by the new, tribal man forgot his ancient natural wisdom.
Among the tribal traditions often displaced by the encroachment of modern society were:

slavery
subjugation of women
fishing by poisoning rivers
human sacrifice
continuous intertribal warfare
hunting by driving herds off cliffs
ritual mutilation
xenophobia
abandonment of the old & dying
abandonment of the young
cannibalism

Despite these losses, civilization brought many benefits. Among them were:

slavery
subjugation of women
air, water & soil polution
organized crime
continuous international warfare
organized religion
fast food
traffic
street mimes
public schools
karaoke


5 posted on 04/02/2012 2:51:20 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: Red Badger

What’s with the fence?

Arrogant pukes.


6 posted on 04/02/2012 2:51:41 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: humblegunner
What’s with the fence?

Bad neighborhood....

7 posted on 04/02/2012 2:55:05 PM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Red Badger

Homo Erectus was a remarkable fellow. For all the different areas and climates he inhabited fire was essential.


8 posted on 04/02/2012 2:56:41 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: wastedyears
There’s some quite interesting sci-fi concerning the history of man, from Larry Niven as well as the Halo series of video games and books.

"Sci-Fi?"
"Sci-Fi?"
"Sci-Fi?"

When I read Asimov, Heinlein, Pournelle, Ellison, Farmer and others at my mother's knee, I was taught to NEVER say "sci-fi." It is "Science Fiction" thankyouverymuch!

You invite the wrath of Campbell! Look and be terrified (no wait, that is Lovecraft)

;)

PS: I spelled Pournelle's name from memory! No one was more surprised than me I got it right!

9 posted on 04/02/2012 2:58:34 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: JimSEA

>>For all the different areas and climates he inhabited fire was essential.<<

He lived near the railroad tracks?

(I have no idea why, but I am in one of “those” moods...)


10 posted on 04/02/2012 3:00:15 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: freedumb2003

I think we humans have found a happy blending of the two. (s.)


11 posted on 04/02/2012 3:01:01 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: wastedyears
Larry Niven as well as the Halo series of video games and books.

I've read Niven and Pournelle and I still get my butt kicked at Halo.

And there ain't no mote in my eye. Stinkin' Moties.

12 posted on 04/02/2012 3:05:46 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: freedumb2003

“Primitive man lived an idyllic existence, in harmony with nature and his fellows”. Funny stuff! Street mimes? Ha ha

Sure, if your ideal is living in near constant starvation and fear of having your head caved in at any moment by “Ugg” the bad ass who lives two caves down. Oh yeah, and no beer!


13 posted on 04/02/2012 3:14:39 PM PDT by enraged
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To: Red Badger
"The control of fire would have been a major turning point in human evolution," says Chazan. "The impact of cooking food is well documented

Controlling Fire its so easy a CAVEMAN can do it...

Now where's the caveman's version of Food network!! :-)

14 posted on 04/02/2012 3:14:39 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (If we stay home in November '12, don't blame 0 for tearing up the CONSTITUTION!!)
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To: Red Badger

Homo Erectus was a remarkable fellow. For all the different areas and climates he inhabited fire was essential.


15 posted on 04/02/2012 3:26:40 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Red Badger

Homo Erectus was a remarkable fellow. For all the different areas and climates he inhabited fire was essential.


16 posted on 04/02/2012 3:26:54 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Red Badger

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

That and hot water.

Makes me human anyway.


17 posted on 04/02/2012 3:30:20 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Red Badger

Fire good!


18 posted on 04/02/2012 3:34:26 PM PDT by Names Ash Housewares ( Refusing to kneel before the "messiah".)
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To: Red Badger

19 posted on 04/02/2012 3:35:21 PM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: central_va

20 posted on 04/02/2012 3:55:03 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: Red Badger; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Red Badger.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


21 posted on 04/02/2012 3:57:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Red Badger
Bones accidentally left behind his Zippo too.
22 posted on 04/02/2012 4:02:04 PM PDT by Happy Rain
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To: freedumb2003

Imagine trying to approval if the EPA was around when Man first harnessed fire.


23 posted on 04/02/2012 4:37:13 PM PDT by 6SJ7 (Meh.)
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To: freedumb2003

Have you read “Macroscope” by Piers Anthony?


24 posted on 04/02/2012 4:39:17 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: gorush

>>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.


25 posted on 04/02/2012 4:45:34 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: 6SJ7

>>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.


26 posted on 04/02/2012 4:47:45 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: Red Badger

Did they determine the world will end in 2012, too?


27 posted on 04/02/2012 4:49:24 PM PDT by righttackle44 (I may not be much, but I raised a United States Marine.)
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To: righttackle44

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.


28 posted on 04/02/2012 4:59:19 PM PDT by BigIsleGal (Wake Me Up When the Stupid Wears Off)
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To: Red Badger

Brains created fire. Fire created larger brains.


29 posted on 04/02/2012 5:18:56 PM PDT by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
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To: Defiant

Exactly!!


30 posted on 04/02/2012 5:26:03 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: Defiant

Posted too soon. Cooked meat & oysters.


31 posted on 04/02/2012 5:29:12 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: freedumb2003
Macroscope was my favorite at the time...I admit to reading relatively little SciFi, The Ender Series most recently but more back in the '60's and early '70's. Apparently my relationship with Anthony was minimal enough to spare me his arrogance. Lucky for me. Loved the book, though.

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).

32 posted on 04/02/2012 5:38:44 PM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: JimSEA

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.


33 posted on 04/02/2012 5:56:24 PM PDT by Defiant (If there are infinite parallel universes, why Lord, am I living in the one with Obama as President?)
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To: Defiant

>>Brains created fire. Fire created larger brains.<<

MMMM! Grilled brains...


34 posted on 04/02/2012 6:08:10 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: ExCTCitizen

“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.


35 posted on 04/02/2012 6:26:03 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse
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To: freedumb2003

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.


36 posted on 04/02/2012 6:26:13 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse
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To: freedumb2003

MMMM! Grilled brains...


I like you, you’re twisted!


37 posted on 04/02/2012 7:29:59 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse
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To: freedumb2003

Campbell?


38 posted on 04/02/2012 9:57:32 PM PDT by wastedyears (Signature for sale.)
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To: wastedyears

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.

Thank Campbell.


39 posted on 04/02/2012 10:37:09 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: freedumb2003

I thought you were talking about Jack Campbell.


40 posted on 04/02/2012 11:00:12 PM PDT by wastedyears (Signature for sale.)
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To: wastedyears

Glen (or Glenda.)


41 posted on 04/02/2012 11:01:16 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Let us prey!)
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To: wastedyears

>>I thought you were talking about Jack Campbell.<<

I am sorry that the context wasn’t clear. Which “Jack Canpbell” did you mean and how did the context point to him?


42 posted on 04/02/2012 11:03:18 PM PDT by freedumb2003 ('RETRO' Abortions = performed on 84th trimester individuals who think killing babies is a "right.")
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To: 6SJ7

Imagine the tribe leaders vilifying the evil wheel inventors while taking bribes from the “green” foot-walker groups.


43 posted on 04/02/2012 11:13:44 PM PDT by abishai
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To: Red Badger

bm


44 posted on 04/02/2012 11:32:59 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Kill all the terrorists; protect all the borders, ridicule all the (surviving) Liberals :^)
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To: JimSEA

Heh, heh, heh.....you said Erectus.........

45 posted on 04/03/2012 6:17:19 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: Defiant

Larger brains created bigger fires until the creation of the hydrogen bomb............


46 posted on 04/03/2012 6:21:49 AM PDT by Red Badger (Think logically. Act normally.................)
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To: freedumb2003

Just that the subject of the thread, and you mentioned Campbell, I just thought you were referring to Jack Campbell.


47 posted on 04/03/2012 10:59:49 AM PDT by wastedyears (Signature for sale.)
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To: Rides_A_Red_Horse

And you can scare everyone at the prom.


48 posted on 04/03/2012 11:02:05 AM PDT by willyd (your credibility deficit is screwing up my bs meter...)
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To: ExCTCitizen
According to the “Raw Food” nutcases - that was the beginning of the end of an idyllic time of supreme human health and happiness - and if ONLY some people had declined to cook their food they would have reaped numerous health benefits - yet SOMEHOW every human population group on Earth seems to be convinced that cooked food is somehow better.

I saw Bushmen cook an ostrich egg in the DIRT, rather than eat it raw. If only they knew that cooking it robbed it of its ‘enzyme potential’!/s

49 posted on 04/03/2012 11:13:05 AM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to DC to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: Rides_A_Red_Horse
An even greater advantage to controling fire is that you can set your rival cave dwellers on fire.

Arson... it's so easy a caveman could do it....:-)

50 posted on 04/03/2012 12:55:00 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (If we stay home in November '12, don't blame 0 for tearing up the CONSTITUTION!!)
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