News From the Field
Early Modern Humans Use Fire to Engineer Tools From Stone
August 13, 2009
Evidence that early modern humans living on the southern coast of Africa 72,000 years ago employed pyrotechnology--the controlled use of fire--to increase the quality and efficiency of their stone tool manufacturing process, is being reported in the August 14 issue of Science. This technology required a novel association between fire, its heat and a structural change in stone, with consequent flaking benefits. The findings ignite notion of complex cognition in these early engineers.
Arizona State University
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