He and I aren’t alone in this thinking. Anthropologists have long speculated that gregariousness is an aspect of survival. But the theory was recently expanded when a discovery in South Africa showed that humans used fire far earlier that presumed, not 400,000 but possibly a million years ago.
“The control of fire would have been a major turning point in human evolution as scientists think ‘that the ability to cook food—which makes nutrients easier to digest—allowed humans to expend less energy on foraging and eating, and facilitated the growth of bigger brains.” (“When Fire was Tamed,” “The Week,” quoting anthropologist Michael Cazan from an article in Wired.co.uk, 4/20/2012)
Sitting around a campfire at night, Cazan speculates, may have facilitated storytelling and cave painting. No one is certain, of course, but the sequence seems logical. So it may be that out of the flames of fire came not only warmth and healthier food but the arts as well. It appears we have much to thank Prometheus for.
Links to Tuesday’s virtual tours:
MK @ MK McClintock Blog
Mindy Wa. @ Books, Books, and more Books