New evidence of early campfires dates back 1 million years
By T.K. Randall
June 20, 2022 · 5 comments
There are few discoveries as fundamental as how to create fire. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Scientists have used an artificial intelligence to analyze evidence that early humans were making fire 1 million years ago.
The ability to make fire is often cited as one of the most critical and fundamental discoveries in the history of human evolution. Not only did it make it possible to cook food, but it also brought warmth and light while also offering a way to repel dangerous animals.
Determining exactly when our ancestors first figured out how to create and use fire on demand, however, has represented something of a problem for scientists as traces of controlled fire from hundreds of thousands of years ago are neither common nor easy to distinguish from wildfires.
Now, however, scientists using artificial intelligence to analyze minute chemical changes in flint artifacts from a Lower Paleolithic site in Israel have discovered what appears to be evidence that our ancestors were capable of using fire as far back as 1 million years ago.
While there was no direct visual evidence of fire at the site, the AI picked up chemical signatures indicating that the flint had been heated up to more than 400 degrees Celsius.
This, coupled with the amount of bones and other tools found there, appears to suggest that this particular fire had been under human control.
While its still early days for the research, conducting a similar analysis on other stone tools could help to provide a clearer picture of exactly when our ancestors first started using fire.
Source: Science Alert
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