Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

A World Before Fire: The Human Flame


A Nicaraguan boy rests while a field of sugar cane burns during the harvest. This method of harvesting eliminates snakes, rodents, and weeds, making the fields more accessible. Photo by © Bill Gentile/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
A Nicaraguan boy rests while a field of sugar cane burns during the harvest. This method of harvesting eliminates snakes, rodents, and weeds, making the fields more accessible. Photo by © Bill Gentile/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Humans existed before their mastery of fire, albeit in a rather primitive state -- and yes, even Earth itself knew an age when fire itself was not only scarce, but chemically impossible. In this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe venture back to a time before the flame and consider the curious, interconnected ascension of man and fire. In part two, consider how fire enabled the evolutionary and technological ascent of humanity.

Related Content:

A World Before Fire: The Terrestrial Anomaly (podcast)

Monster Science: The Fire Ecology of Dragons (video)

The Psychedelic Nightmare of Ergotism (podcast)

Art Spotlight: Saint Anthony, Hand of Fire

Science on the Web: Fire Toilet (video)

Fire Tornado vs Sharknado (podcast)

Outside Content:

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy

Topics in this Podcast: fire, technology, evolution, Geology


More to Explore