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Ancient humans harnessed fire to make stone tools 300,000 years ago

Stone blades found in the deepest layer of Qesem cave in Israel

Filipe Natalio

Ancient humans used controlled fire to modify their stone tools at least 300,000 years ago.

Previously, the oldest hard evidence of controlled fire use was from Pinnacle Point in South Africa, 164,000 years ago. “We just doubled it,” says Filipe Natalio of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. He and his colleagues studied 300,000-year-old flint tools from Qesem cave in Israel. The cave was occupied between 420,000 and 200,000 years ago, and the people who lived there regularly lit fires …