Homo-Sapiens: The Domestication of Fire and its Impact

This is a part of a series of blog posts written based on concepts I read in a few books — Sapiens, Glimpses of World History, Discovery of India

800,000 years ago: Humans started occasional deliberate use of fire.

300,000 years ago: Humans started regular use of domesticated fire.

The domestication of fire had the following benefits for humans -

  1. Utility: Fire was a dependable source of light and heat.

The Consequences of Cooking

More time and energy: Chimpanzees take 5 hours every day to chew food. Humans, in contrast, take an hour or less. This saved an enormous amount of energy.

Smaller Intestines, Bigger Brains: It took less effort to digest food. Therefore humans were able to have smaller intestines. The additional energy allowed for larger brains.

Domestication of Fire and the Food Chain: Fire domestication allowed humans to gain control of an obedient and limitless force. The power that humans had was no longer proportional to their size, muscle, speed, or wingspan. A tiny man or woman with a flint could burn down an entire forest. This along with the ability to build tools allowed humans to eventually rise to the top of the food chain.



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