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Evidence of million-year-old fire found

Researchers have performed a microscopic analysis on some ash found in a cave in South Africa, revealing that humans built a fire there one million years ago.

It is not possible to say for certain which species of hominin inhabited the cave one million years ago, but the team believes it was probably Homo erectus.

The bits of ash, which range from a few millimetres to a few centimetres long, are well preserved. They have jagged edges, showing that they were not burned elsewhere and blown or washed into the cave, which would have worn such edges away.

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Story: Matt Kaplan, Nature | Photo: Greatstock Photographic Library/Alamy

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