Cooking and Evolution

Anthropologist Richard Wrangham argues that cooking fueled the evolution of our species.  Cooking, according to Wrangham, provided the richer, healthier and higher-energy foods necessary for our big brains and body shape.

I have followed wild chimpanzees and studied what, and how, they eat. Modern chimps are likely to take the same kinds of foods as our early ancestors. In the wild, they’ll be lucky to find a fruit as delicious as a raspberry. More often they locate a patch of fruits as dry and strong-tasting as rose hips, which they’ll masticate for a full hour. Chimps spend most of their day finding and chewing extremely fibrous foods. Their diet is very unsatisfying to humans. But once our ancestors began eating cooked foods — approximately 1.8 million years ago — their diet became softer, safer and far more nutritious.


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