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Scientists Find Clue to Human Evolution's Burning Question
from the Guardian (UK)
Cooking is a universal in human culture. The mixing and heating of
raw ingredients to make dinner is a fundamental part of our lives, one
of the most noticeable things that separates us from even our closest
The advantage of this method of preparing food is clear: It makes
food tastier, easier to digest and makes the extraction of energy from
raw ingredients quicker and more efficient. All useful things if you
want to power an over-sized, energy-hungry brain without having to spend
all your time foraging and chewing food.
Richard Wrangham, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard
University, has argued that the invention of cooking split the ancestors
of humans from the evolutionary path that went on to include modern
gorillas and chimpanzees. Cooking allowed our ancestors to develop
bigger brains and, in his hypothesis, is the key reason modern humans
emerged. The controlled use of fire, according to Wrangham, was a more
important milestone in human evolution than the invention of agriculture
or eating meat.
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