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The Domestication of Fire – The Major Transformation in Life

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It was the turning point in life of Paleolithic human, when there was momentous sparkle of stones leading to use of fire for betterment of life. It means we can say that it was the Paleolithic man who domesticated or tamed the fire for the use of today’s human society. It was due to their learning nature, sharing those with others, and transmitting them to following genera­tions. They transformed their life in such a way that a fire could be kept burning continuously, they developed a fire regime which enabled them to expand their control over their natural environment, while at the same time affecting their own social arrangements and their personal habits and feelings. Today, we are solely dependent on fire for life and continuously discovering the sources of fire. Today, we can say that no life without fire, fire is life.

Fire is a chemical process of combustion, manifested by heat and light. For fire, oxygen, fuel and heat are necessary. Fire causes a quick disintegration of organic matter, reducing it to ash and smoke in a process of transformation that is almost the prototype of destruction.

These were the humans only who learned to manipulate the fire which differentiate human species from other animals. The domestication of fire is still debatable that when exactly it took place. The estimates regarding the use of fire by humans, is approximately 1.5 million years ago. The domestication of the fire management may be regarded as a model for other rules that were developed at later stages in our human history.

Uses of fire by Paleolithic human

The fire is domesticated 250000 years ago and the fire was used by the human. The Human being used the fire for

1.    Dominance over other animals.

2.    Opening up fields for cultivation by removing the existing vegetation.

3.    Cooking of staple food.

A wild force of nature - the blind, capricious and hazardous fire is tamed, cared for, protected from rains and supplied with fuel. Our early ancestors went to all this trouble, as it served them well. They put the potentially destructive and essentially purposeless force of fire to work for their own productive purposes. They managed to make fire regularly available. They no longer had to ‘hunt’ for it, hoping to find the smoldering remains of a natural blaze somewhere; they made it part of their own group and they revered it as a symbol of eternal life.

By the use of fire our ancestors created a contrast between dark and light, between warm and cold or between wet and dry more amenable to manipulation, and thus gave them a greater margin of freedom from the grip of nature. By taming the fire, they increased their power of interaction. Armed with fire, they were able to open impenetrable forest and to keep the fierce animals stronger than them. By the use fire driven power they became more powerful and their lives were become more comfortable and secure. Today, fire established the higher standards of our livings.

Toward the end of the Paleolithic, between 15,000 and 10,000 years ago, some human groups began to extend their care and control over selected plants and animals. This marked the beginning of great ecological transformation brought about by humans. Transformation could not have taken place without the firmly established control of fire. Once it was under way, it in turn deeply affected the further development of the part played by fire in human society.

Wood is the main source of fire since Paleolithic era. In our rural areas, it is the main source of fire in majority of kitchens of today’s world. Although, in rural the dry dung has been used as source of fire since ages. Both wood and dry dung has been used to burn and to get fire till date.

As we know that fire is energy. Energy has been used in many forms. Livestock had been used as a source of transportation and draught energy since ages. In many parts of world, where modern modes of energy are not available, it is the livestock only which is used for this form of energy.


Now, in modern era, the fire has been transformed into so many forms of energy. The water energy had been transformed into to electric energy. Today, the electricity is the base of our livelihood. There are several forms of transformed fire viz. electricity, petrol, and diesel.

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