When We Tamed Fire

  • Published on: 09 April 2019
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    The ability to make and use fire has fundamentally changed the arc of our evolution. The bodies we have today were, in many ways, shaped by that time when we first tamed fire.

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/pbsdigitalstudios

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    Alperson-Afil, N. (2008). Continual fire-making by hominins at Gesher Benot Ya ‘aqov, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27(17-18), 1733-1739.
    Barkai, R., Rosell, J., Blasco, R., & Gopher, A. (2017). Fire for a reason: Barbecue at middle Pleistocene Qesem cave, Israel. Current Anthropology, 58(S16), S314-S328.
    Berna, F., Goldberg, P., Horwitz, L. K., Brink, J., Holt, S., Bamford, M., & Chazan, M. (2012). Microstratigraphic evidence of in situ fire in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(20), E1215-E1220.
    Blain, H. A., Agustí, J., Lordkipanidze, D., Rook, L., & Delfino, M. (2014). Paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental context of the Early Pleistocene hominins from Dmanisi (Georgia, Lesser Caucasus) inferred from the herpetofaunal assemblage. Quaternary science reviews, 105, 136-150.
    Carmody, R. N., & Wrangham, R. W. (2009). The energetic significance of cooking. Journal of Human Evolution, 57(4), 379-391.
    Clark, J. D., & Harris, J. W. (1985). Fire and its roles in early hominid lifeways. African Archaeological Review, 3(1), 3-27.
    Gowlett, J. A. (2016). The discovery of fire by humans: a long and convoluted process. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1696), 20150164.
    Gowlett, J. A., & Wrangham, R. W. (2013). Earliest fire in Africa: towards the convergence of archaeological evidence and the cooking hypothesis. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa, 48(1), 5-30.
    Hlubik, S., Berna, F., Feibel, C., Braun, D., & Harris, J. W. (2017). Researching the nature of fire at 1.5 Mya on the site of FxJj20 AB, Koobi Fora, Kenya, using high-resolution spatial analysis and FTIR spectrometry. Current Anthropology, 58(S16), S243-S257.
    MacDonald, K. (2017). The use of fire and human distribution. Temperature, 4(2), 153-165.
    Pruetz, J. D., & LaDuke, T. C. (2010). Brief communication: Reaction to fire by savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Fongoli, Senegal: Conceptualization of “fire behavior” and the case for a chimpanzee model. American Journal of Physical Anthropology: The Official Publication of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 141(4), 646-650.
    Roebroeks, W., & Villa, P. (2011). On the earliest evidence for habitual use of fire in Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(13), 5209-5214.
    Zink, K. D., & Lieberman, D. E. (2016). Impact of meat and Lower Palaeolithic food processing techniques on chewing in humans. Nature, 531(7595), 500.
  • Runtime : 12:57
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history fire hominins Kenya Koobi Fora campfires cooking food Africa Dmanisi migration wonderwerk cave Paranthropus boisei humans human evolution


  • F TP
    F TP   19 hours ago

    so much for taming fire... i just burned my rice

  • Yellowhorse
    Yellowhorse   1 weeks ago

    The Homo Erectus fossils found in Georgia have a more primitive skull than others found elsewhere. Perhaps the taming of fire helps kick start their brain development of later members of Homo Erectus.

  • Strength Honour
    Strength Honour   1 weeks ago

    North Sentinelse Islanders still don't know about fire.

  • Roxann ier
    Roxann ier   2 weeks ago

    Hi EONS, please use more pictures or drawings. You keep repeating them in every video. Lots of artists would love the opportunity! Thanks!

  • Piotr Ładan
    Piotr Ładan   2 weeks ago

    Humans have been mostly herbivores throughout their evolution but here you constantly show them as carnivores. Bias ? Fire gave us access to starch - fuel for our brains.

  • Will James
    Will James   2 weeks ago

    It's pretty ironic that 99% of humans today cannot start a fire without the use of man-made tools !!!

  • Inquisitive
    Inquisitive   2 weeks ago

    If you explained to that genius, making fire for the first time, how he was changing the history of apes, he'd probably throw some feces at you.

  • Gus Gone
    Gus Gone   3 weeks ago

    Anyone who has seriously experimented with flint knapping, will have noticed the occasional spark and wondered.

  • Cameron Empey
    Cameron Empey   3 weeks ago

    I think we don’t give enough credit to our long distant relatives I think there is so much missing from what we understand I bet they figured out how to make fire but then again I’m just going off my gut feeling

  • Daniel Olsson
    Daniel Olsson   3 weeks ago

    Considering that all previous species of /HomonidsHumans could tame fire, I don't buy the whole idea that the the Sentineles people living on North Sentinel Island are unable to tame fire that most youtube video concerning them seem to indecate That they must wait for lightning to strike so they can enjoy a warm meal sound silly to me. As they are amongst the last uncontacted people to remain untouched by modern civilization and their violent, almost xenophobic way of rejecting any contact with the outside world, we know almost nothing about them at all. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sentinel_Island

  • jeremy Mizer
    jeremy Mizer   3 weeks ago

    My uncle thought he could tame fire, now he looks like Freddy Krueger.

  • Justin Ceneviva
    Justin Ceneviva   3 weeks ago

    When we started cooking food, we traded gut for brains.

  • denis njoroge
    denis njoroge   3 weeks ago

    That is my country Kenya, I live about 116km away from the place. Thanks for educating us

  • Dario Spirit
    Dario Spirit   3 weeks ago

    When we gamed fire? Because the possibility that extraterrestrials passed it on is not an option? Really?

  • Jay Wordplay
    Jay Wordplay   4 weeks ago

    Make a video on how the ice age affected humanity

  • Marcus Belanger
    Marcus Belanger   4 weeks ago

    The TameFire update officially broke the Earth survival game. From that point forward humans were OP and needed a nerf that never came.

  • Master Monkey
    Master Monkey   4 weeks ago

    We? Bro youd be dead in minutes in the wild XD

    SUDHIR PATEL   4 weeks ago

    Watch the movie: Quest For Fire.Its free on YouTube.

  • silver watcher
    silver watcher   4 weeks ago

    Nifty to think I dont ever use fire. Microwave king. Whether that's a good thing or not, it's a factoid. Fastfood and restaurants I guess is the only place I'll eat with fire. Eat and be happy.

  • Zeus Melendrez
    Zeus Melendrez   4 weeks ago

    entertain this thought: what if what we know were staged by the so called “archeologist” dun dun dun duuhhhhhnnn 😳😳😳😂😂😂

  • Mitch Wilson
    Mitch Wilson   1 months ago

    It also seems possible that cooking began before we made use of fire. I don't think heating food with fire is required for cooking, although fire is obviously a big part of cooking as most of us know it today.

  • Community Watch Groups USA

    @pbs eons and hank. Fermentation, and domestication/symbiotic evolution with dogs/birds/cats, and herbalism

  • possum440
    possum440   1 months ago

    Hank....can I call you Hank? "We" Haven't tamed fire. Those living beings capable of a thought, saw lava or lightning burning something or some Extraterrestrials at a cookout, took the item that was burning and through trial and error put together what burned and what would not, basically opportunistic fire gatherers, not tamers. Though a person with a bucket of water and a small fire could imply they were able to tame fire, that is still a reach.We "Utilize" fire for various needs, we have not tamed it...why? Well, I have yet to see a Human walk up to a burning building and snap their fingers and put it out and then say "good boy, good little fire!". Nor have I seen a firefighter walk up to a burning tree and with a wave of their hands, put it out.

  • Vince85
    Vince85   1 months ago

    With fire, next came grill meat.

  • Lj Vahle
    Lj Vahle   1 months ago

    I think Homo Ergaster made the first fire

  • yohan beck
    yohan beck   1 months ago

    Hi I just found this channel, great stuff I subscribed. Question about the aim assisted hunting-spear the ancestral man used at 10:40. Could you tell me the name of that spear or innovation that led to it? Thanks!

  • Michael Glenn
    Michael Glenn   1 months ago

    Yea, but it also lowers the caloric value of the food

  • Plm Mills
    Plm Mills   1 months ago

    What do I major in college to be able to study this type of material??

  • Mzee Watk
    Mzee Watk   1 months ago

    no known homo erectus in australia

  • Mzee Watk
    Mzee Watk   1 months ago

    Once a nerd, always a nerd. : )