Re: memetics-digest V1 #1296

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri 07 Mar 2003 - 22:58:23 GMT

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    Did all the early peoples have ' fire ' at the same time or did only one !? If only one, we can deduct that a than advanced being arose ( he learned himself the use of fire) but that doesn 't mean it was necessarily so ! The find of one single fireplace in some outskirt of Africa can
    't be seen by us that the people who lived there were already more advanced than the ones on the neigbouring site where we found nothing. The picture of the one- step- by- one- step- evolution changes accor- dingly to the above, there is nothing that can 't exclude the possibility that the early humankind took ONE big jump ALL together.


    I doubt that it was one big jump all together. Fire has been around on forest and plain a lot longer than people have been around. What seems more likely to me is that people learned to control fire in increments and learned to make it in one place first, which then spread the skill to other places with the advent of trade and travel between tribes.

    I see men learning first that a newly burned rabbit or other animal smelled and tasted better than a dead animal that wasn't burned. Then, I would imagine they started searching burned areas after a fire to find food that had been preserved for a while by cooking. Next might have come the idea of keeping a fire going by adding fuel and throwing dead animals into it. If they could keep it going through cold days and in sheltered places, this would lead to developing a hearth and the dressing of a animal before it was roasted. Taste alone would dictate this development.

    So to me, it wasn't discovering fire that was important -- it was the development of the idea of using fire as a tool in small increments and for various purposes. Different tribes in different places would have used the tool of fire in different ways in order to make their lives more comfortable.

    Over time, what was learned and developed by one tribe would have spread to others as individuals traveled, met and traded with each other. In a hunter gatherer society, travel was constant as the tribe depleted the resources of an area and went in search of new ones. Weather also drove them to follow the herds they fed on to warm climates in the winter and colder ones in the summer. This constant need for travel would also bring widely separated tribes together at different seasons to trade stories, goods and ideas. What was known to one tribe would soon be common knowledge to humans everywhere, relatively speaking and compared to genetic change.


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