DISCLAIMER: this post is just for fun and does not report on mainstream paleoanthropological research. The title of the paper in the Journal of Fire Ecology is actually "Speculations About the Effects of Fire and Lava Flows on Human Evolution". The author comes right out and says that
this paper is not a scientific presentation of hypotheses that have been extensively tested in the field. Rather, it is a playful exercise in speculation and even 'just so stories' about human evolution and fire.And the author Michael Medler certainly does speculate. He starts by making the observation that hominins (east African ones at least) evolved in a region characterized by very active volcanism (indisputable). Perhaps then, he goes on, fire has shaped human adaptations over millions of years. This is not totally outside the realm of what some actual anthropologists have said (e.g Wrangham, 2009)....more or less that fire for cooking food and warmth was really important late in human evolution as hominins spread out of the tropics.