All discoveries involving fire were made in the first 10 KY !?

"Proof" that all inventions about the uses of fire were made in a very short time.

We can read surprised or admirative comments about how strange it is that primitive people could have invented so many things, so early, once they had fire : boiling without containers, charring, making tar and glue, charcoal, transforming stones by heat (for knapping...), transforming clay in hard material, fumigating of meat, fish and skins, hardening of wood points, ....

But let's do the maths...

... and it will soon be clear that even made by mere chance, all inventions about the uses of fire were probably made in a very short time.

Parameters of the hypothesis :

  • 200 K people,
    from various early human species, with relatively small brains and limited creativity,
  • 15% of them all (30 K) having some knowledge of fire ...
  • ... and using fire daily during 10 KY
  • 1 fire for every 5 people (families), fire burning 5 hours per 24h, each day of the year

Fire used for cooking, for heat, for protection against beasts, for technological processes, for hunting.

Some people knowing how to create fire, other knowing only how to preserve fires or coals.

People from tribes who did not use fire will not be included in the calculation.

Results :

Total number of hours of experimentation : more than 100 billions hours
30 K / 5  * 10 K * 5  * 365 = 109 500 000 000 hours of experimentation.

This is a kind of primitive crowdsourcing, allowing for discoveries made by mere chance, during all kinds of events, in all kinds of environnements.

This is the equivalent of a continuous experiment lasting for more that 12 millions years !
30 K /5 * 10 K * 5 / 24 = 12 500 000 years.

That should be more than enough to make every possible primitive discovery about the uses of fire.

Next task : find real numbers and dates

  • When did fire began to be widely used by humans and pre-humans ?
     200 KY, 400 KY, 1MY ago ?
  • How many humans and pre-humans lived at that time ?
    Chimpanzee, now, are around 200 000 ;
    Any reason for the first human species to have been less numerous ?

Starting a list of publications where some hints should be found...

The discovery of fire by humans: a long and convoluted process | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

"We know that burning evidence occurs on numbers of archaeological sites from about 1.5 Ma onwards (there is evidence of actual hearths from around 0.7 to 0.4 Ma); that more elaborate technologies existed from around half a million years ago, and that these came to employ adhesives that require preparation by fire. We know that both early modern humans and Neanderthals had sophisticated fire technologies, at least some of the time."

The Invisible Fire Starters: A usewear-based approach to identifying evidence of fire production by Neandertals - Sorensen, Andrew - 2012 - Marster thesis

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