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).
Glen (or Glenda.)
>>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?
Imagine the tribe leaders vilifying the evil wheel inventors while taking bribes from the “green” foot-walker groups.
Heh, heh, heh.....you said Erectus.........
Larger brains created bigger fires until the creation of the hydrogen bomb............
Just that the subject of the thread, and you mentioned Campbell, I just thought you were referring to Jack Campbell.
And you can scare everyone at the prom.
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
Arson... it's so easy a caveman could do it....:-)
I like some things raw... Carrots (eating some at the moment), Celery, Apples, Pears, Peaches....I like my steak cooked....if the raw food people want theirs raw... they can have it....myself ...Medium well please!!
I like some foods raw as well - but it isn't because I have deluded myself into thinking that the raw carrot I eat has within it the enzymes to digest ‘carrot’ that somehow survive the acidic environment of my stomach - and that if I eat a cooked carrot I deplete my “enzyme potential” by making the enzymes to digest it.
It is amusing to me that they never considered world history amid their fervent delusion. Every culture that tried cooking food has adopted it as a superior method, but really - what did they know? /s
>>Larger brains created bigger fires until the creation of the hydrogen bomb............<<
And yet, hot dogs come in packages of 10 and hot dog buns come in packages of 8. The grill as impetus of brain growth clearly has limits...
>>Just that the subject of the thread, and you mentioned Campbell, I just thought you were referring to Jack Campbell.<<
No offense, but who is Jack Campbell?
SF readers will know of the Campbell of whom I reverently refer. There is only one. :)
“Scare” or “Scar?”