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Earliest evidence of fire making in Europe found

Charred bone, heat-rippled stone in Spanish cave date back 800,000 years

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7:00am, June 2, 2016
Flames of fire

FIRE STARTERS  Discoveries in a Spanish cave indicate a prehuman species set small blazes there around 800,000 years ago, the earliest evidence for fire making in Europe.

Prehumans living around 800,000 years ago in what’s now southeastern Spain were, literally, trailblazers. They lit small, controlled blazes in a cave, a new study finds.

Discoveries in the cave provide the oldest evidence of fire making in Europe and support proposals that members of the human genus, Homo, regularly ignited fires starting at least 1 million years ago, say paleontologist Michael Walker of the University of Murcia in Spain and his colleagues. Fire making started in Africa (SN: 5/5/12, p. 18) and then moved north to the Middle East (SN: 5/1/04, p. 276) and Europe, the researchers conclude in the June Antiquity.

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