When did humans first learn to create fire ?
By T.K. Randall
August 26, 2020 · 12 comments
Humans first used fire over 1 million years ago. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Fire is one of mankind's most fundamental technological discoveries - but just how long ago did we discover it ?
The quintessential depiction of a human discovering fire - as seen in countless books and movies over the years - usually involves a prehistoric man coming across a fire sparked by a lightning strike.
While this is very likely to be how humans first discovered how to create fire, determining exactly when this might have happened is not quite so straight forward.
What scientists do know is that somewhere around 400,000 years ago, evidence of fire had began to emerge all across Europe, the Middle-East, Asia and Africa, suggesting that by this point humans had already mastered the art of creating fire and using it to their advantage.
Venturing further back still, evidence of fire in the form of flint, hearths and burned wood fragments has been found at a site in Israel dating back 800,000 years.
In South Africa, one cave site even has evidence of man-made fire from over 1 million years ago.
Beyond this however, things become a lot less clear.
Fossil remains of our ancestor Homo erectus
indicate that their gut started shrinking and their brain started growing around two million years ago - indicators that could point to the invention of cooking.
While possible evidence of controlled fires has been found in Kenya dating back 1.6 million years, experts currently disagree over whether or not such fires were started deliberately.
As things stand, the exact time at which our ancestors first discovered fire still remains a mystery.
Source: Live Science
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