Homo Naledi :
We cannot deny the fact that understanding how to use fire has been one of the most significant stepping stones for us, humans, to become so successful in the race of the survival of the fittest.
All thanks to the brain, our ancestors accidentally discovered the uses of fires and implemented them to protect themselves, hunt, cook, and light up the cold dark nights, and caves.
Recently, researchers have discovered the remnants of fireplaces, sooty walls, and ceiling smudges in a South African underground cave system called the Rising Star Cave System that dates back to at least 335,000 to 236,000 years ago.
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The researchers found a partial fossil skull of a child that belongs to an ancient Southern African hominid called Homo naledi in the cave. The findings report was published in Carnegie Science.
The team that involved paleoanthropologistsLee Berger, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and wits paleoanthropologist Keneiloe Molopyane that led the expedition found the partial fossil skull of Homo naledi and small fireplaces that had burnt bones of antelopes, charred pieces of wood.
They also found burned remains of other animals in the remotest chamber of the Rising Star Cave Complex. The team observed a thin layer of stalactites and rock sheets having blackened burned areas, and soot particles.
“Signs of fire use are everywhere in this cave system,” said Berger in a report.
Homo naledi fossils date back from 335,000 years ago to 236,000 years ago, during the period Homo sapiens began their journey. Other researchers suspect the findings of Homo naledi using fire regularly for light, warmth, and cooking, mainly because of their small brain size.
However, a brain roughly ⅓rd the size of today’s humans is big enough for Homo naledi to understand and achieve control of fire, Berger stated.
The team is finding more and more evidence in the cave system to confirm their findings. But the findings need to be cross-checked by external paleoanthropologists.