Thursday, June 24, 2021
Home News Reports Study finds evidence of the first use of controlled fire in India 55,000 years...

Study finds evidence of the first use of controlled fire in India 55,000 years ago at a site near Prayagraj: Report

Asked why there was so much gap between India and China where usage of human-controlled fire was traced to 400,000 years ago, scientist Parasanta Sanyal stated that the Indian sites have not been studied enough.

Latest studies have pushed back the use of controlled fire by humans in India by 30,000 years. Evolutionary scientists have discovered that the first use of controlled fire by human beings happened some 50,000 years ago in the Belan river valley, 80 km away from Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. Until now, studies suggested that the first reported use of fire in the Indian subcontinent was from 18,000-20,000 years ago.

As per a report published in The Times of India, the sedimentary deposits of the sites situated in the Belan river valley offered a unique opportunity to scientists to understand the linkage between the prehistoric human environment and fire events.

“Before this, the first reported use of fire in the Indian subcontinent was from 18,000-20,000 years ago. Hearths were found in the same valley, considered the first direct evidence of human use of fire,” Times of India quoted Prasanta Sanyal, co-author of the paper being published in Elsevier journal ‘Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology’, as saying.

The evolutionary scientists identify the discovery of fire as one of the greatest sparks of human intelligence. To study when exactly the use of controlled fire began in the Indian subcontinent, the scientists from IISER-Kolkata looked at macro charcoal (larger than 125 microns) from six archaeological sites in the valley — Deoghat, Koldihwa, Mahagara, Chillahia, Chopani-Mando and main Belan.

A charcoal sample from Belan Valley, source: TOI

Prasanta Sanyal explained that it is possible to get charcoal from two sources — forest fires and human-made fires. Suppose, there was a forest fire in the Himalayas. It could have produced this charcoal, which was transported and deposited, said Sanyal, explaining how in man-made fire the charcoal cannot be transported. “But we found that the internal structure of these charcoal samples was still well-preserved, which could not have happened had they been transported.” Then, there was the topography. The paper says the “gentle slope of the Belan valley and its small catchment area make long-distance transportation unlikely.”

Microscopic image of a charcoal sample, source: TOI

Sanyal furthered that the scientists then reconstructed the climate patterns for the last 100,000 years. It turned out that the period the charcoal samples dated back to the period which had very high rainfall. “Besides, the vegetation was characterised by trees. Both factors are not very conducive to forest fires. You can have a natural forest fire only in dry and arid conditions,” Sanyal explained.

“We concluded that the charcoal in these archaeological sites came from human use of fire,” said Sanyal. This meant that at that time- around 50,000 years ago the human brains were developed sufficiently to control fire.

“This is the time that the cognitive abilities of prehistoric humans developed. This coincided with the period when they started creating different types of tools,” Deepak Kumar Jha, lead author, told TOI.

Once the knowledge of how to harness fire was acquired it was transferred. “The use of fire was persistent from Middle Palaeolithic to Neolithic (from 55,000 to 3,000 years ago)- from the earlier prehistoric populations to the later farming communities,” the paper says.

This recent study has made India move up to the 13th position amidst 15 oldest sites in the world with evidence of human-controlled fire. It is now the 13th oldest evidence of the use of fire in the world. The oldest is from 1.6 million years ago, at Koobi Fora in Kenya.

India has moved up to the 13th position in the table of 15 oldest sites in the world with evidence of human controlled fire, image via TOI

 “If you see China, human-controlled fire has been discovered from 400,000 years ago. Why this gap? Maybe we have not studied Indian sites enough”, maintained Prasanta Sanyal.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

From cover up to conspiracy to murder: Some unanswered questions about Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s death in Kashmir

Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee had died mysteriously days after he was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir for entering the state without permission

Former IFS officer Lakshmi M Puri sends legal notice to Congress supporter Saket Gokhale for misleading allegations against her

Alleged activist and Congress mouthpiece Saket Gokhale made baseless allegations against Lakshmi M Puri, wife of Hardeep Singh Puri

Ever Given: Ship that blocked Suez Canal has since been held by Canal authorities, they wanted 916 million dollars

After demanding 916 USD initially, the canal authorities had later lowered the demand amount to 550 million. A final settlement is expected to be reached soon.

Trinamool MP Mimi Chakraborty duped by fake IAS officer’s fake vaccination drive, one arrested

Mimi Chakraborty was reportedly duped by a man who claimed to be an IAS officer and requested the TMC MP to be chief guest at a COVID-19 vaccination drive organised by him.

Telangana: Woman working at Christian priest’s home dies in police custody, officer suspended

Mariyamma, who used to work as a domestic help at local priest Father Balaswamy's house in Govindapuram village, breathed her last on June 18 after cops allegedly assaulted her.

Kanpur: Hindu families put “for sale” signs outside their houses after being forced to convert to Islam, SP MLA accused of shielding the goons

10 Hindu families in Rail Patri colony in Kanpur live under constant fear as they have been threatened either to covert to Islam or leave the area.

Recently Popular

‘Is your father a mali or chowkidar? I will cancel your license, H*r*m*zade’: Maneka Gandhi threatens vets in viral audios

The Indian Veterinary Association in a letter have condemned the unruly behavior and unparliamentary language used by Maneka Gandhi against animal doctors.

Ravish Kumar appears massively frustrated as India administers 85 lakh COVID vaccines in single day, this is why he does not make sense

Ravish Kumar goes on a ranting spree to hate on PM Modi by camouflaging propaganda as 'criticism' over COVID-19 vaccination

How Venkatesh Prasad is winning hearts with his ‘Sanghi’ posts, one tweet at a time

Venkatesh Prasad demonstrated the Surya Namaskar for his followers, performed in deference to the Sun God.

After being slammed by Bombay HC for lack of evidence, Mumbai police names Arnab Goswami as an accused in second TRP chargesheet

Republic TV had submitted before Bombay HC that Mumbai Police have deliberately not named Arnab Goswami in charge sheet to keep the investigation open

Oxfam says reporting rape cases harms black and marginalised people, blames ‘privileged white women’ for root causes of sexual violence

Oxfam says that fighting against sexual assault legitimises criminal punishment, which harms black and other marginalised people
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

255,564FansLike
555,590FollowersFollow
24,400SubscribersSubscribe