The primate that learned to cook

According to some experts, cooking, food preparation, has had a great importance in the evolution of the human species. About a year ago and wrote something on this subject here and now, the magazine New Scientist , has published an article in which Catherine Brahic reports about what was discussed at the congress Evolution 2010 [1] . At that conference, proponents of the theory that the cooking of food has been crucial in human evolution have shown significant evidence in favor of the proposal and expressed the adpatación to eating cooked food is the result of a series of events that occurred very early in the history of our lineage.

Christopher Organ (Brown and Harvard) and Charles Nunn (Harvard) have collected data while employing different species of primates in chewing food, taking into account the size of the studied species. Apparently, a primate of our size that were supplied uncooked product would be required to use half of waking in chewing food.And yet, is not dedicated to that task more than 10% of the time.

On the other hand, humans have molars that are much lower than in primates equivalent to our size size. Moreover, analyzing fossil pieces, found that Homo habilisand his contemporary Homo rudolfensis did have molar equivalent of similarly sized primates size, but both Homo erectus and the Neanderthals , and had clearly smaller.

Apparently, so far not been able to explain why Homo erectus had such small wheels.Thus, it is likely that the reason has to do with cooking without digital kitchen scale. It is the opinion of Richard Wrangham (also from Harvard), the main proponent of this view, argue that about two million years ago, a member of the species Homo erectus or a member of an earlier species found food had been accidentally cooked by a fire, and saw it was edible and found him a taste. From there would be humans themselves who begin to try to intentionally food with fire, with the advantages in terms of time and energy efficiency, that this meant.

Cooked food requires less chewing time and is easier to digest than the crude feed.According to Wrangham, energy advantage provided cooking is what allowed our spectacular brain development, which, in turn, led to an increasingly complex social structure. It further notes that according to the fossil record, was when there was the greatest increase in brain size of hominids .

Against this view be argued that it could be obtained good performance in food consumption oil if there was a transition from vegetative to the carnivorous in between years ago two million and a million and power, but would have required longer times chewing and eating the most tender and easy to digest pieces. And a difficulty accepting this theory is that, if valid, humans were able to control the use of fire since then and yet, the oldest evidence for controlled use of fire are about 800,000 years ago.

What is clear is that this is a very suggestive point of view, and hopefully in the coming years will continue to present new evidence and further discussion with the elements as they arise. What for us is clear is that the taste for cooked food is firmly rooted in our nature, and this perhaps is showing its age.

[And some of us, well, we love to cook, almost as much as eating what we cooked. ;-)]

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