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An archeology discovery in Africa suggests that Stone Age humans had an understanding of some basic but complicated chemistry.
Archaeologists have found evidence that, as long ago as 100,000 years, people used a specific recipe to create a mixture based on the iron-rich ochre pigment. The findings, published in the journal Science, “push back by 20,000 or 30,000 years” the evidence for when Homo sapiens evolved complex cognition, says Christopher Henshilwood of the universities of Bergen in Norway and Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, who led the work. “This isn’t just a chance mixture, it is early chemistry. It suggests conceptual and probably cognitive abilities which are the equivalent of modern humans,” he says.