"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, and maybe some of them having 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
Some people knowing how to create fire, other knowing only how to preserve fires or coals.
People from tribes who did not use fire would not be included in the calculation.
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.
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 ?
Chimpanzees, now endangered, are still ~200,000 ;
Any reason for the first humans (from all human species), opportunist omnivores, with a wider range of habitats, to have been less numerous ?
Starting a list of publications where some hints should be found...104,000 [288,000 in 1973] Bornean Orangutans, endangered
~100,000 Giraffes in 2015
[not human-like at all : much more specialized, endangered, big and not so "sustainable" beeing]
415,000 African Elephants in 2016,
[not human-like at all : much more specialized, endangered, very big and not so "sustainable" beeing]
900,000 American black bears in north america only
[not exacty human-like but also "opportunist omnivores"]
Chimpanzee (pan trogloditus only) population nowadays : ~200,000
The discovery of fire by humans: a long and convoluted process | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/371/1696/20150164
"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
Fire tamed 1 million years ago [Wonderwerk Cave site in South Africa’s Northern Cape province ]
Before that, the earliest reliable evidences were considered to be 0.4 million years old.