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Early Modern Humans Use Fire to Engineer Tools From Stone

August 13, 2009

tools created by fire-treated silcrete 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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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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