Scientists say they have new evidence that our ancestors were using fire as early as a million years ago. It takes the form of ash and bone fragments recovered from Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa.
The team tells the journal PNAS that the sediments suggest frequent, controlled fires were lit on the site. The ability to use fire is regarded as a key step in human development because it gave us access to cooked foods and new technologies.
Stone tools found at Wonderwerk Cave indicate the ancestor in question may have been Homo erectus, a species whose existence has been documented as far back as 1.8 million years ago.
Establishing precisely when humans first acquired the ability to control fire has been very difficult.
There have been several claims that the skill was in existence even earlier than at Wonderwerk.