Was Homo Erectus the first hominid to use fire?
Blake, Web post
Dr. dig responds:
Archaeologists have argued for many years about just who were the first people to use fire. It used to be thought that the first evidence of fire use came from the Zhoukoudian Cave, China, dating to 0.5 million years ago. Now, however, we have older pieces of burned animal bone, dating to more than one million years ago, recovered from the Swartkrans Cave in South Africa. The cave has yielded a variety of early hominid bones, including Australopithecines, but the burned animal bones were found close by Homo erectus remains, so this strongly suggests that Homo erectus was the first to use fire. Burned plants and bones, at approximately one million years old, were also found in the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.