Evidence for the cooking of fish 780,000 years ago at Gesher BenotYa’aqov, Israel [Abstract]
Zohar et al.
Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2022
Size–strain analysis using X-ray powder diffraction provided evidence that these teeth had been exposed to low temperature (<500 °C), suggesting, together with the archaeological and taphonomic data, that the fish from the archaeological horizons of Area B had been cooked and consumed on site. This is the earliest evidence of cooking by hominins.
Establishing patterns of early fire use in human evolution [PDF]
Roebroeks et al.
In S. Gaudzinski-Windheuser (Ed.), The Beef behind Al
Possible Pasts, The Tandem Festschrift in Honour of Elaine Turner and Martin Street, 2021
Our review indicates that fire use was very probably a standard partof the hominin technological repertoire from the second half of the Middle Pleistocene onward. […] The strong signal for fire use since ~ 400 ka does not imply that there was no fire use before that period, even if some of the early contested cases may indeed be the result of natural fires. As mentioned above, hominins were distributed over large parts of the Old World from around 2 Ma onward and were probably occasionally exposed to settings that are quite challenging in terms of thermoregulation and diet for present-day humans in our current interglacial, such as the loess plateau of Central China
Middle Pleistocene fire use: The first signal of widespread cultural diffusion in human evolution [Texte et PDF]
MacDonald et al.
These archaeological data, as well as studies of ancient genomes, lead us to hypothesize that at the latest by 400,000 y ago, hominin subpopulations encountered one another often enough and were sufficiently tolerant toward one another to transmit ideas and techniques over large regions within relatively short time periods. Furthermore, it is likely that the large-scale social networks necessary to transmit complicated skills were also in place. Most importantly, this suggests a form of cultural behavior significantly more similar to that of extant Homo sapiens than to our great ape relatives.
A Cross-cultural Survey of On-site Fire Use by Recent Hunter-gatherers: Implications for Research on Palaeolithic Pyrotechnology [Texte]
Mc Cauley et al.
Journal of paleolithic archaeology, 2020
Perhaps most notably, we found that several groups did not know how to make fire and that even within some of the groups who were able to make fire, the relevant knowledge was restricted to a very small number of individuals. Another surprising finding was that many groups preferred to preserve fire rather than creating it anew, to the point that they would carry it between camps.
The Uncertain Origins of Fire-Making by Humans: The State of the Art and Smouldering Questions [PDF]
Andrew C. Sorensen
Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte, 2019
it appears stone-on-stone percussive fire-making using flint and pyrite was a skill first practiced by at least some groups of late Neanderthals, though its origins could be much older. Conversely, preservational problems associated with the wood-on-wood friction fire-making make it extremely difficult to assess the antiquity of this method. Lingering questions regarding early fire-making innovations and possible avenues for future research are discussed
Geochemical Evidence for the Control of Fire by Middle Palaeolithic Hominins [Texte]
Brittingham et al.
these results suggest that the ability of hominins to manipulate fire independent of exploitation of wildfires was spatially variable in the MP and may have developed multiple times in the genus Homo.
Hominin fire use in the Okote member at Koobi Fora, Kenya: New evidence for the old debate [PDF]
Hlubik et al.
Journal of human evolution, 2019
We present new work on the evidence of fire at the FxJj20 Site complex in Koobi Fora, dated to 1.5 Ma. We highlight evidence of burning found on site through Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry, and describe ongoing work to investigate the association of hominin behavior and fire evidence.
Towards an understanding of the costs of fire [PDF]
Amanda G. Henry et al.
Quaternary international, 2018
Here we discuss in detail the various kinds of costs associated with fire and how these costs could, and do, structure human fire-use behavior. We then describe a small experiment to ‘put some numbers on’ the potential costs of fire, by quantifying one of the most expensive costs (fuel collection) and comparing it to one of the most-praised benefits (cooking of food). The results suggest that the costs of fuel collection are very high in less-forested environments, and that excessively large amounts of cooked foods are needed to match the total costs of fuel collection and the act of cooking. Overall, the costs of fire can be quite high and must be considered when proposing models for pre-modern human adoption and regular use of fire technologies.
Were Western European Neandertals Able to Make Fire? [PDF]
Finding Prometheus: evidence for fire in the early pleistocene at FxJj20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya (Thèse) [PDF]
Rutgers University Libraries, 2018
Fire for a Reason: Barbecue at Middle Pleistocene Qesem Cave, Israel [Texte]
Barkai et al.
Current Anthropology, 2017
Fire was used throughout the 200,000 years of human occupation of the cave primarily for meat roasting and cooking. Roasting and cooking, we argue, had an important role in providing the necessary caloric intake of the cave’s inhabitants. We see fire as an essential element of the new post-Acheulian human adaptation in the Levant.
Ethnoarchaeology of Paleolithic Fire: Methodological Considerations [Texte]
Mallol & Henry
Current Anthropology, 2017
Spatial Analysis of Fire: Archaeological Approach to Recognizing Early Fire [Texte]
Current Anthropology, 2017
On their own, individual site records are of limited value, especially single occupation sites. We need to study the evidence for fire use at multiple sites and through multiple occupations to get meaningful temporal and spatial frequency data. Therefore, while some researchers do have access to multiple sites, realistically, we will only make significant progress through broad collaboration.
Identifying and Describing Pattern and Process in the Evolution of Hominin Use of Fire [Texte]
Dennis M. Sandgathe
Current Anthropology, 2017
The oldest of these is the open-air site of Gesher Benot Ya‘akov (Israel), dated to approximately 800 kya, which appears to have a few superimposed layers with fire residues (Alperson-Afil 2017). However, the earliest unquestionable examples of hominin use of fire and long-term, continuous fire use occur in cave sites in Israel dating from the latter half of the Middle Pleistocene. Between 350 and 200 kya we have the notable examples of Hayonim Cave, Qesem Cave, and Tabun Cave, where the sequences have recorded what appear to reflect regular and successive use of fire over much of this period.
Current Anthropology, 2017
Control of Fire in the Paleolithic: Evaluating the Cooking Hypothesis [Texte]
Current Anthropology, 2017
According to current evidence, Homo sapiens was unable to survive on a diet of raw wild foods. Because cooked diets have large physiological and behavioral consequences, a critical question for understanding human evolution is when the adaptive obligation to use fire developed. Archaeological evidence of fire use is scarce before ca. 400 ka, which suggests to some that the commitment to fire must have arisen in the mid-Pleistocene or later. However, weak jaws and small teeth make all proposals for a raw diet of early Pleistocene Homo problematic. Furthermore, the mid-Pleistocene anatomical changes seem too small to explain the substantial effect expected from the development of cooking.
Toward a Long Prehistory of Fire [Texte]
Current Anthropology, 2017
I propose a potential scenario for the prehistory of fire, consisting of three major stages of development. From this perspective, obligate cooking developed gradually in the course of human evolution, with full obligate cooking emerging subsequent to modern humans rather than synchronous with the appearance of Homo erectus as envisioned by the cooking hypothesis.
Henry de Lumley
Odile Jacob, 2017 (livre)
Carmody et al.
Genome Biology and Evolution, 2016
Sequence changes in the genes under selection appear before the split between modern humans and two archaic human groups,Neandertals and Denisovans, supporting the idea that human adaptation to a cooked diet had begun by at least 275,000 years ago.
(This article is part of the themed issue ‘The interaction of fire and mankind’)
The discovery of fire by humans: a long and convoluted process [Texte]
Direct evidence of early fire in archaeology remains rare, but from 1.5 Ma onward surprising numbers of sites preserve some evidence of burnt material. By the Middle Pleistocene, recognizable hearths demonstrate a social and economic focus on many sites. The evidence of archaeological sites has to be evaluated against postulates of biological models such as the ‘cooking hypothesis’ or the ‘social brain’, and questions of social cooperation and the origins of language. Although much remains to be worked out, it is plain that fire control has had a major impact in the course of human evolution.
Human Brain Expansion during Evolution Is Independent of Fire Control and Cooking [Texte]
Alianda M. Cornelio et al.
Frontiers in neurosciences, 2016
Divergent Ah Receptor Ligand Selectivity during Hominin Evolution [PDF]
Hubbard et al.
Molecular biology and evolution, 2016
Our findings reveal that a functionally significant change in the AHR occurred uniquely in humans, relative to other primates, that would attenuate the response to many environmental pollutants, including chemicals present in smoke from fire use during cooking.
The plant component of an Acheulian diet at Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, Israel [Texte]
Melamed et al.
Diet is central for understanding hominin evolution, adaptation, and environmental exploitation, but Paleolithic plant remains are scarce. A unique macrobotanical assemblage of 55 food plant taxa from the Acheulian site of Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, Israel includes seeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and plants producing underground storage organs. The food plant remains were part of a diet that also included aquatic and terrestrial fauna. This diverse assemblage, 780,000 y old, reflects a varied plant diet, staple plant foods, environmental knowledge, seasonality, and the use of fire in food processing.
When did humans learn to boil ? [PDF]
John D. Speth
Obviously, this evidence does not prove that Neanderthals, or earlier hominins, were in fact wet-cooking but, given the simplicity of the technology and the wide availability of suitable container materials, it seems highly likely. Scholars interested in the evolution of human diet and culinary technology need to be aware of this likelihood, and begin to focus their collective efforts on finding innovative ways to “see” wet-cooking in the Paleolithic record.
Here, we argue that plant carbohydrates and meat were both necessary and complementary dietary components in hominin evolution.[…] Although the timing of widespread cooking is not known, Wrangham and Conklin-Brittain (2003) argue that it was long enough ago to allow for biological adaptations to take place, including changes in digestive anatomy around 1.8 million years ago, reduction in tooth size, and reduced capacity for digestion of raw, fibrous foods. They further propose that cooked foods were soft enough to be palatable by infants, potentially leading to earlier weaning and shorter interbirth intervals (also see Carmody et al. 2011)
Earliest fire in Africa: towards the convergence of archaeological evidence and the cooking hypothesis [PDF]
Gowlett & Wrangham
Azania : archeological research in Africa, 2013
Interpretations often struggle to take into account the implications of a huge bias in archaeological preservation, which means that our surviving evidence does not accurately map the past. Additionally, there is often a‘yes-no’ presence/absence approach to fire, which does not recognise that earliest hominin fire use may have occurred in interaction with natural fire, and may not even have included deliberate hearth use in its first stages. Here we examine the need to integrate different approaches to the issues of early fire-use, considering especially the earliest archaeological evidence and the ‘cooking hypothesis’, while also tackling the issues of apparent differences in early African and European fire records.
Microstratigraphic evidence of in situ fire in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa [Texte]
Berna et al.
The ability to control fire was a crucial turning point in human evolution, but the question when hominins first developed this ability still remains. Here we show that micromorphological and Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy (mFTIR) analyses of intact sediments at the site of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa, provide unambiguous evidence—in the form of burned bone and ashed plant remains—that burning took place in the cave during the early Acheulean occupation, approximately 1.0 Ma. To the best of our knowledge, this is the earliest secure evidence for burning in an archaeological context.
On the earliest evidence for habitual use of fire in Europe [Texte]
The timing of the human control of fire is a hotly debated issue, with claims for regular fire use by early hominins in Africa at ∼1.6 million y ago. These claims are not uncontested, but most archaeologists would agree that the colonization of areas outside Africa, especially of regions such as Europe where temperatures at time dropped below freezing, was indeed tied to the use of fire. Our review of the European evidence suggests that early hominins moved into northern latitudes without the habitual use of fire. It was only much later, from ∼300,000 to 400,000 y ago onward, that fire became a significant part of the hominin technological repertoire. It is also from the second half of the Middle Pleistocene onward that we can observe spectacular cases of Neandertal pyrotechnological knowledge in the production of hafting materials. The increase in the number of sites with good evidence of fire throughout the Late Pleistocene shows that European Neandertals had fire management not unlike that documented for Upper Paleolithic groups.
Timing of the appearance of habitual fire use
Sandgathe et al.
We agree that the evidence indicates that fire was not a requisite technology that allowed Early Pleistocene hominins to expand into more northerly latitudes. However, we argue that the available evidence better supports a significantly later appearance for the habitual use of fire (sometime near the end of the Late Pleistocene) and that before this fire (sic), use was always sporadic and opportunistic. Roebroeks and Villa (1) supported their argument by showing, in figure 1 and table 1 in ref. 1, significant increases in the numbers of sites with good evidence for fire in the more recent Marine Isotope Stages (MIS), and they adjusted these data to show numbers of sites with good evidence for fire per 10,000-y increment within each MIS. A potential problem with these data is that they may simply be reflecting the overall frequency of sites per time pe-riod. We can expect that, because of ongoing taphonomic pro-cesses, there will necessarily be fewer sites the farther back intime we look. It would be more meaningful if we look at the number of site occupations with good evidence for fire relative to the total number of site occupations known for that specific time period.
The Energetic Significance of Cooking [PDF]
Carmody & Wrangham
Journal of human evolution, 2009
cooking has critical effects not easily achievable by non-thermal processing, including the relatively complete gelatinisation of starch, efficient denaturing of proteins, and killing of food borne pathogens. This means that however sophisticated the non-thermal processing methods were, cooking would have conferred incremental energetic benefits. While much remains to be discovered, we conclude that the adoption of cooking would have led to an important rise in energy availability. For this reason, we predict that cooking had substantial evolutionary significance.
Early archaeological sites, hominid remains and traces of fire from Chesowanja, Kenya [Abstract]
Gowlett et al.
Recent investigations of Lower Pleistocene sites at Chesowanja have yielded in situ Oldowan and Oldowan-like stone artefacts, evidence of fire and a fragmentary ‘robust’ australopithecine cranium. Burnt clay found at one artefact locality dated to >1.42±0.07 Myr is the earliest known evidence of fire associated with a hominid occupation site.