Controlled Fire (i.e. 1,420,000 B.C.E.)

Homo erectus harnesses lightning.

Fire is an essential tool,control of which helped to start the human race on its path to civilization. The original source of fire was probably lightning,and for generation blazes ignited in this manner remained the only source of fire.
Initially Peking Man, who lived around 500,000B.C.E., was believed to be the earliest user of fire, but evidence uncovered in Kenya in 1981, and in South Africa in 1998, suggests that the earliest controlled use of fire by hominids dates from about 1,420,000 years ago. Fires were kept alive permanently because of the difficulty of reigniting them, being allowed to burn by day and damped down at night. Flint struck against pyrites or friction methods were the most widespread methods of producing fire among primitive people.

Seek wood already touched by fire. It is not then so very hard to set alight."

-African proverb

The first human beings to control fire used it to keep warm, cook their food, and ward off predators.It also enabled them to survive in regions previously too cold for human habitation. They also used it in "fire drives" to force animals or enemies out of hiding .Controlled fire was important in cleaning forest for roadways, grasslands for grazing, and agricultural lands-uncontrolled,the fire destroyed the potential of the soil. Mastering fire also opened up the possibilities of smelting metals, enabling human kind to escape the limitations of the Stone Age.MF



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