By William Gurstelle


The Cave Dwellers of Lascaux and the Oil Lamp

» In Africa, Europe, and China, field scientists have uncovered the fossilized remains of campfire-charred bones so old that they likely predate Homo sapiens. The archeological evidence suggests that our humanoid ancestors began taming fire perhaps as long as 1 million years ago.

While these creatures most likely lacked the wherewithal to kindle fire, they did, it seems, have the mental capacity to capture naturally occurring fire, tend it, and preserve it for long periods. For ancient hominids, campfires were important not only for warmth and cooking, but also ...

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