Hominid Use of Fire is at Least 1MYO

The antiquity of the purposive hominid use of fire continues to be pushed back according to a study released earlier this year by Berna et al. in PNAS. Analyses of material at the Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa support that charred remains were burned inside a cave, ruling out other natural causes.  One million years is the oldest archaeological evidence of hominid controlled fire use yet found.  From the 1970s thru the 1990s, this same site has yielded Aucheulean materials, suggesting occupation by H. erectus.

Thanks to Erin Weyman’s “Hominid Hunting” for bringing this to my attention (via Google Currents)!

Christopher Lynn

About Christopher Lynn

Christopher Dana Lynn is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama, where he directs the Evolutionary Studies program.  Chris teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in biological anthropology, human sexuality, evolution, biocultural medical anthropology, and neuroanthropology.  He received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology in 2009 from the University at Albany, SUNY, where his doctoral focus was on the influence of speaking in tongues on stress response among Pentecostals.  Chris runs a human behavioral ecology research group where the objectives include studying fun gimmicky things like trance, religious behavior, tattooing, and sex as a way of introducing students to the rigors of evolutionary science.  In all his “free” time, he breaks up fights among his triplet sons, enjoys marriage to the other Loretta Lynn, strokes his mustache, and has learned to be passionate about Alabama football (Roll Tide!).  Follow Chris on Twitter: @Chris_Ly
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