Humans Used Fire Earlier Than Believed | The Institute for Creation Research

Humans Used Fire Earlier Than Believed

According to standard notions of human evolution, the controlled use of fire represented a key turning point in the development of modern humans from ape-like ancestors. So, evolutionary paleoanthropologists have been interested in pinpointing when humans began using fire. New evidence from South Africa's Wonderwerk cave has established that someone was burning wood and bones much earlier than widely thought. But is its age assignment trustworthy?

A report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences assigned the stratum to an ancient and long lasting time period called the Acheulean.

Until this discovery, most had believed that man's use of fire had evolved perhaps 700,000 years ago, but the archaeological stratum inside the cave contains tiny charred remains dated to within approximately 290,000 years of one million years ago. The study authors wrote that this is "a time range that fits with current understanding of the chronological position of the early Acheulean within the ESA [Earlier Stone Age] in Southern Africa."1

What would these researchers have done with age estimates that did not fit the consensus? Discordant ages are routinely discarded or explained away as contaminants. These kinds of dates are systematically hand-fitted to the pre-existing evolutionary dating scheme.2

Study authors mentioned that their age "fits with current understanding"—betraying their circular evolutionary age dating procedures. First, only those age indicators that fit the consensus are selected for publication. Afterward, scientists point to those published dates as confirmation of great antiquity.

The charred bits of bone and plant matter fit quite well within the timeline of biblical creation. So-called "Earlier Stone Age" remains in South Africa most likely correspond to peoples who, having been recently dispersed from the Tower of Babel, were the first to have migrated to that area. Those pioneers undoubtedly lived in caves for a time, since they had not yet had time to build homes.

Referencing God's Word as a historical resource is more responsible than referencing man's word because the Bible is based on reliable eyewitness accounts and not circular sources.

References

  1. Berna et al. 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. Published online before print, April 2012.
  2. Morris, J. 2007. The Young Earth, Revised and Expanded. Green Forest, AK: Master Books, 11.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on May 21, 2012

The Latest
COVID-19
A Time for Firsts Amid COVID-19
All of us have experience with firsts, and today is no exception as America sails through the uncharted waters of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)....

COVID-19
Psalm 8 and COVID-19
Here in Dallas County, we are under “shelter in place” orders as part of the plan to slow the progress of the global coronavirus pandemic.1...

COVID-19
What’s the Difference Between Virus and Bacteria?
As we are embroiled in a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know the basics of these tragic viral infections and why the medical community...

NEWS
ICR Beginning Search for a New President
As was noted in my article “Biblical Succession” in the April issue of Acts & Facts, the ICR Board of Trustees has authorized a national...

COVID-19
Potential Coronavirus Treatments Enter Large Clinical Trials
Some good news in potential treatment options for COVID-19 was reported in the American journal Science.1 Four new treatment options were being...

NEWS
Yellowstone Supervolcano Unlikely to Blow
For several years, secular scientists have been predicting a possible supervolcano eruption at Yellowstone National Park. Recently, the London Daily Mail...

NEWS
Deep Water Squid Communication Mystifies Scientists
In the deep, dark, cold waters of the Pacific Ocean—about 1,500 feet below the surface— hundreds of Humboldt squid the size of small humans...

COVID-19
Sea Otters, Dungeness Crabs, and Coronavirus Pandemic Politics
As healthcare politics dominate America’s news media services (which now includes ICR), at least one population is not bothered by coronavirus: the...

NEWS
Earthquake Causes Tsunami Fears
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck just east of Russia’s Kuril Islands, sparking fears of impending tsunamis.1 According...

COVID-19
Prison or Palace?
All over the world, the coronavirus is changing everything at a breakneck pace. Businesses are closing, millions of people are confined to their homes,...