Children of Those Hairless Freaks

9 Mar

 We are, all of us today, descended from a handful of hairless freaks born over a million years ago. These babies came into the world shorn of the fur pelts that adorned their parents and all of their ancestors. Perhaps they suffered a version of what would now be termed Hypotrichosis, a medical condition signifying no hair growth.  We have no knowledge but something happened to these babies.

What prompted the parents and the community to permit them to live and mature is beyond reasoning but fortunately that occurred or we would not exist as we are. Prehistoric peoples surely had knowledge of fire for prior eons. Surely they had experimented with its usage but fire is not a friend if you are covered in hair. One careless move, accident or sudden gust of wind could turn one into a human torch.

Enter the freaks.  Enter the eventual mastery of fire by these naked fire shamans. Enter their descendents as the selectively favored members of the community. Enter the domination of all other animals whose very pelts made fire an enemy and humans to be feared. Enter the history of mankind.

The use of fire over the following million or so years is the story of stories. We know of ancient campfires and blackened cave walls. We see the evidence of primitive cooking and can understand that our diets and our lives were radically changed by people at their hearths.

 Hairlessness changed fire usage. Fire changed our lives. Fire usage enabled all that came after.


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