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

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.

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