Study Says Use of Fire Relatively Recent in Europe

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WASHINGTON (AP).- A new study is raising questions about when ancient human ancestors in Europe learned to control fire, one of the most important steps on the long path to civilization. A review of 141 archaeological sites across Europe shows habitual use of fire beginning between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago, according to a paper in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Most archeologists agree that the use of fire is tied to colonization outside Africa, especially in Europe where temperatures fall below freezing, wrote Wil Roebroeks of Leiden University in the Netherlands and Paola Villa of the University of Colorado. Yet, while there is evidence of early humans living in Europe as much as a million years ago, the researchers found no clear traces of regular use of fire before about 400,000 years ago. After that, Neanderthals and modern humans living in Europe regularly used fire for warmth, co