Essay PreviewMore ↓
Common knowledge holds it that primitive man was a being barely more developed than the ape, existing without culture, innovation, or technological prowess. This belief focuses especially on homo erectus, an ancestor of man who lived from about 2 million to roughly 200,000 years ago. It is commonly believed that h. erectus was a creature existing in technological stasis, without the ability to advance his existence through innovation, and void of culture. This type of thinking could quickly be altered, though, if recent discoveries hold true. Recent evidence points to a distinct possibility that h. erectus may have been the first ancestor of man to harness the power of fire. Such a finding would greatly alter the current system of beliefs in regard to the evolution of man and the status of man's ancestors during the time of h. erectus. These findings would indicate that h. erectus did have some culture, and some innovative skill that allowed him to control his environment. The evidence supporting the taming of fire by h. erectus is not beyond reproach, though. In fact, it has come under heavy questioning. A desire for even stronger evidence could eventually dispel the notion that this primitive version of man could control fire, and allow for maintenance of the current belief that man did not truly evolve into a being with any type of culture until the existence of homo sapiens.
Up until the year 2000, a great deal of evidence surrounding man's use and control of fire indicated that such technology probably did not appear until roughly 200,000 years ago. The implication that h. sapiens was the first in the line of mankind to control fire was supported by evidence found at a site in Zhoukoudian, China. While it had been believed for some time that Zhoukoudian was the first site of controlled fire, evidence found through more exhaustive research indicates otherwise. There are no hearths at the site in China. Nor are there any food remnants. Such evidence leads to the belief that the burnt bones found at the site are probably the result of a natural fire (Wuethrich). The lack of strong evidence supporting the site as one in which man's control of fire is displayed supported the belief that h. erectus lacked technological prowess and culture.
The next best candidate for the site of man's first documented control of fire was a collapsed sea cave in Menez Dregan, France.
How to Cite this Page
"Primitive Man's Relationship with Fire and the Environment." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Nov 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- One can express many different types of themes in Jack London’s, “To Build a Fire”. Though I feel strongly that London’s theme in the story is about that the environment shapes who we are because it shows that the man is not strong enough to live up to his environment. Allowing the environment to kill the man indicates that he is weak both mentally and biologically, while on the other hand the dog is stronger by surviving the same harsh environment. Instinct superior to reason is another theme that is highly portrayal able in London’s story.... [tags: To Build a Fire, Jack London]
943 words (2.7 pages)
- There are various details that the author makes obvious during this story about the wife’s character, life and environment. He does this to set up her actions during the story and to give the reader some background information so they are able to imagine things from her perspective. The first thing that becomes clear to the reader when reading this story is that the drover’s wife lives in a very harsh environment. It is described as being a dangerous and monotonous place to live, with the, “everlasting, maddening sameness of the stunted trees”.... [tags: environment, isolated, dangerous]
596 words (1.7 pages)
- ... After getting out of Hell Gate, Amsterdam can be a priest and go to a better place than Five Points. But he threw the Bible away and chose the path of revenge. A second chance is offered to him when Jenny asks him not to go to the duel and go to San Francisco with her. Again, he rejected for being eager to revenge. Every time Amsterdam is trapped to Five Points because of the eagerness to revenge, a conditioning done by the environment. Here is one thing the movie can do better. If Amsterdam was killed and failed to revenge, the nature’s indifference and the illusion of free will will be better expressed.... [tags: mission, free will, environment]
854 words (2.4 pages)
- Man on Fire When I think of an American Hero I immediately think of someone who is strong, intelligent, handsome, and daring. Upon closer examination, many different qualities than these become apparent. Courage, honesty, bravery, selflessness, and the will to try are just a few of the overlooked qualities of an American Hero. The definition of heroism changes with the context and time. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines heroism as "heroic conduct especially as exhibited in fulfilling a high purpose or attaining a noble end; the qualities of a hero".... [tags: Man on Fire Tony Scott Book Review Analysis]
849 words (2.4 pages)
- “To Build a Fire” written by Jack London can truly be considered as a work of art. With themes anyone can relate to, such as survival and man versus nature, it is a great short story for anyone looking for something to read. Everyone knows a dog is a man’s best friend, but what happens when it is man versus dog. When survival of the fittest kicks in, the fittest truly shows. In “To Build a Fire”, Jack London expresses various elements of literature to really get the reader involved in the story.... [tags: To Build a Fire ]
1805 words (5.2 pages)
- Dance is a form of movement in demonstrating expression, escape, and exhibiting individuality, while place is associated to the experience and meaning that has been embedded within the space from the performance. The two music videos, “Man on Fire” and “Elastic Heart,” both reveal the variation of scale and place, while signifying the issue of ethnicity and gender. On the other hand, the “Fatboy Slim” film centers on the notion of space, and how space can be distinguished between private versus public space.... [tags: Performance, Dance]
1275 words (3.6 pages)
- There are not very many Jobs that are a glamorous then the ones that are held by our nation’s firemen. They are the men and women who go diving into the heart of the deadly situation when everyone else’s instinct kicks in and are fleeing for their lives. Fire departments are responsible to aid in the protection of lives, property and the environment. Most people do not understand or have any idea about how firemen do their jobs or go about their days. “Ron Howard tried his best to depict firefighting in his movie “Backdraft”.... [tags: firefighting, fire department, fire academy]
1966 words (5.6 pages)
- Man and Nature in Norman Maclean's book, Young Men and Fire Norman Maclean's book, Young Men and Fire, recreates the tragedy of the Mann Gulch fire. His ambition to have this lamentable episode of history reach out and touch his readers triumphs in extolling the honor and respect deserved by the thirteen smoke jumpers who died. This book is a splendid tribute to the courageous efforts of such men, as well as a landmark, reminding mankind to heed the unpredictable behavior and raw power of nature.... [tags: Young Men and Fire]
878 words (2.5 pages)
- Foreshadowing in To Build a Fire In the story "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, foreshadowing is often used. In this story foreshadowing is an effective way to build up a climax. The foreshadowing is both shown by the environment and things the characters say. An example of environmental foreshadowing was when it said, "Fifty degrees below zero stood for a bite of frost that hurt and that must be guarded against.... "Another example was when the man's "fire was blotted out." These examples show that the cold will be the man's doom, but foreshadow only by telling the necessary details.... [tags: London To Build a Fire Essays]
489 words (1.4 pages)
- A Critique of Jack London's To Build a Fire Karen Rhodes analyzed to build a fire in a cultural context. He believed "London's works were written so that he could survive in a world he increasingly came to see as "red in tooth and claw""(1). It is obviously the story of a man fighting the stresses of Nature. According to Rhodes, to build a fire was drawn from the year London spent in Canada's Yukon Territory. London depicted arctic and very cold conditions throughout the story. Rhodes believed to build a fire represented London's Naturalistic Flavor.... [tags: London To Build a Fire Essays]
513 words (1.5 pages)
Evidence from a site in KoobiFora in Africa is the most distressing to those who believe strongly that h. erectus was not a being with technology and culture. Burn patches dated between the ages of 1.4 to 1.6 million years old have been found in this region of Africa, a time period occurring at the very beginning of h. erectus' existence. Accompanying these burnt patches are tools and burnt bones, evidence that leads some anthropologists to claim that the fires were man made (McCrone).
This evidence alone was considered inconclusive. Critics pointed out the lack of ash, stones, and food remnants. These critics suggested that the lack of such evidence indicated the distinct possibility that the fires had simply been caused by nature. Stronger evidence was found though, leading many to conclude that the fires could not have been created by nature.
Crystalline melting at the sites was found to have occurred at around 400 degrees Celsius, as opposed to the 100 degree Celsius melting found at the average bushfire. Also, there were many different elements in the burnt patches, indicating that the sites had been revisited and relit. Unless bushfires had occurred repeatedly at the same site, the evidence here points to man made fire. Even more convincing is the existence of multiple plyoliths at the site of the fires. This evidence runs contrary to the findings at the site of a naturally occurring fire. Fires that occur in nature tend to have evidence of only one plyolith. The dominant plyolith at this site in Africa was palm wood. Palm wood is still one of the most preferred woods for a fire. The dominance of this type of plyolith along with the existence of others indicates the distinct possibility that the fires in Africa were created by h. erectus (McCrone).
There still remain many critics of the site in Africa. It is held that in order to make such an important claim, there must be even more decisive evidence. There still remain several questions, such as why there is no trace of a hearth, and whether or not the sites could have actually been carved by water (McCrone). The evidence that h. erectus created these fires, though, is stronger than ever seen before. A finding of such magnitude would be cause for a drastic reconsideration of the culture of h. erectus, and his interaction with the environment.
As opposed to the current popular belief that h. erectus was incapable of technological innovation, the existence of these fires would indicate that this primitive man was more intelligent than originally thought. From such evidence, it can be extrapolated that h. erectus was intelligent enough to have constructed a technology that permitted for greater safety, eating, and warmth. Such a technology would support the belief that h. erectus was a hunter-gatherer, rather than a scavenger as some would have everyone believe. The technology of controlled fire would help explain the expansion of this primitive man across the globe, as it would have provided safety and warmth during its journeys (McCrone).
There are still those who state that the control of fire does not mean that h. erectus was a being with a culture worth admiring. In fact, the lack of permanent tools and such points to the insinuation that h. erectus had, at best, a 'fifteen minute culture." It is believed that, at best, this culture was disposable, and did not evolve to a point worth truly mentioning until the introduction of language (McCrone).
Upon the introduction of language, mankind took its first steps toward becoming a cultured civilization. The introduction of language would have turned the fire into something that simply cooked food into something around which conversations were held. Though the introduction of language and a more permanent culture seems to be more noteworthy than the simple harnessing of fire technology, simple control causes us to rethink our prior assessment of h. erectus. If this being could control fire, it leads to the belief that this version of mankind was much more intelligent that originally assumed, and therefore had a different relationship with the environment. Further investigation into the subject can only reveal more telling facts concerning the intelligence of h. erectus. Such investigation should be welcome, as it can only advance our understanding of primitive man's involvement with his surrounding world.