Fire: The Spark That Ignited Human Evolution

  • by Frances D. Burton
  • Narrated by Michael Scherer
  • 7 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The association between our ancestors and fire, somewhere around four to six million years ago, had a tremendous impact on human evolution, transforming our earliest human ancestor, a being communicating without speech but with insight, reason, manual dexterity, highly developed social organization, and the capability of experimenting with this new technology. As it first associated with and then began to tame fire, this extraordinary being began to distance itself from its primate relatives, taking a path that would alter its environment, physiology, and self-image.
Based on her extensive research with nonhuman primates, anthropologist Frances Burton details the stages of the conquest of fire and the systems it affected. Her study examines the natural occurrence of fire and describes the effects light has on human physiology. She constructs possible variations of our earliest human ancestor and its way of life, utilizing archaeological and anthropological evidence of the earliest human-controlled fires to explore the profound physical and biological impacts fire had on human evolution.

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What the Critics Say

"With great detail and concise arguments, this well-sourced work will fascinate armchair scientists with an interest in anthropology and evolution." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not bad

What made the experience of listening to Fire: The Spark That Ignited Human Evolution the most enjoyable?

The vast amount of information from various scientific disciplines. A true eye-opener.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Fire: The Spark That Ignited Human Evolution?

It's difficult to pick one.


Have you listened to any of Michael Scherer’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, I have not but I'm going to.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's not that kind of book


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- Simon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-08-2012
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks