Fire, scientists agree, helped give rise to a successful, thriving human population by providing heat for cooking and protection from the cold.
But they don’t agree exactly when humans began using fire. Some researchers argue that it occurred more than a million years ago when early humans made their way to Europe from Africa, and others say it happened much later. Now, a new study argues that humans did not master fire until about 400,000 years ago.
Yet there are sites older than 400,000 years in Europe that indicate the presence of humans, with the oldest, in Spain, more than a million years old. This means that despite Europe’s extreme winter climates, early humans found a way to survive without the warmth of a fire.