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Early Europeans survived European cold without fire

New research is challenging the assumption that humans had mastered fire before coming to Europe.

Wil Roebroeks at Leiden University in the Netherlands and Paola Villa at the University of Colorado Museum in Boulder, searched the European archaeological record for fires and found that the earliest possible evidence comes from two 400,000-year-old sites, one in England that seems to have the remains of an ancient hearth and one in Germany that has a charred wooden tool and heated flint present. Older sites in England, Italy and Spain showed no evidence of fire mastery. These observations are problematic because ancient human ancestors migrated into the cold European climate more than a million years ago, implying that they survived for 600,000 or so without fire.

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Story: Matt Kaplan, Nature News | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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