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Palaeontology

New evidence of early campfires dates back 1 million years

June 20, 2022 | Comment icon 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 | Comments (5)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by jethrofloyd 7 days ago
1 million years from a fire to the computer. The next million years from a computer to the dinosaur again.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Hyperionxvii 7 days ago
Nuh uh, it is known that our ancient ancestors were enlightened protectors of Gaia. Camp fires cause global warming. They were in tune with nature and so aware of this. Things like eating and surviving cold and wild beasts took a back seat to this climate change threat.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hyperionxvii 7 days ago
I think that at our current rate, it will be more like 3 years until the 2nd dinosaur age, with only a couple brief stops at the dark ages and the stone age. But we'll stop climate change! 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 7 days ago
Using fire and creating fire are two things... Would be interesting to know when Human have been able to ligh up their own fire and not relying on natural ones.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 5 days ago
I have a problem with this -- "... evidence that our ancestors were capable of using fire as far back as 1 million years ago."  Our ancestors (Homo Sapien) only go back 250,000 years. If there was a species of "human" behind all this, it was not us.  My opinion. 


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