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Early Modern Humans Use Fire to Engineer Tools From Stone

August 13, 2009

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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. Full Story

Arizona State University

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