Who Tamed Fire First? Essay

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Who Tamed Fire First? The farther back in time we explore, the more room there seems to be for discrepancy among various theories regarding the history of the earth. One of the many disputed aspects of history concerns the nature of the relationship between humans and the environment. This paper will focus on the debate of the origin of first tamed fire. Was it Homo erectus or Homo sapiens? The widely accepted big bang theory of evolution "paints Homo erectus as no more than a smart ape," (McCrone, New Scientist, May 20, 2000, 31) with a, "15-minute culture," (McCrone, 34) incapable of manipulating his surrounding environment. Though even if we were to believe he was physically capable of accomplishing this act, McCrone explains,…show more content…
This study refocuses the controlled use of fire to a closer date in time, between 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, (Wuethrich). This study did not conclude, however, whether Homo erectus might have been taming fire in sites other than Zhoukoudian, China. The question persists. More studies were conducted whose findings suggest that Homo erectus was, in fact, the first early human to intentionally use fire. Historian Bar-Yosef argues, "Erectus would have needed fire just to be in Europe during the ice ages. And even the latest dates the people accept-around 250,000 years ago-would be a problem for the idea that everything important starts to happen with Homo sapiens," (McCrone, 34). This accusation, that our modern-day tendency of naming those closest to our image as being the most important and intelligent beings, is warranted. At the same time, many others were beginning to challenge these "ego-centric" theories of early humans and their relationship to the environment, and instead, seek the truth. A group of these challengers, led by Jack Harris of Rutgers University, have found evidence of tools and skeletons of Homo erectus consistently located in the same campsites as burned patches in Koobi Fora, Kenya, all dated back approximately 1.6 million years ago, (McCrone, 30). Harris insists that, "even discounting
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