Did Cooking Make Us Human?

a caveman is eating a bull on fire
Buy and Download this image in HD.
* We have all articles images for sale, in HD resolution 1920x1080px
and without watermark in our eStore or upon request.

Originally, our primate ancestors ate their food raw and survived just fine, but many say we could not have evolved to our current state without the ability to cook.

Nobody knows exactly when cooking was invented or discovered. Early primitive humans or hominids might have come across animals burnt by lightning strikes or wild fires and ate them.

Or perhaps they accidentally dropped a piece of meat in a fire and ate it, finding that it seemed tastier than eating meat raw.

As far as we are concerned, cooking is now an essential activity for humans. In fact, we are the only known species that prepares its food in this way, one of several factors that set us apart from other life forms.

Cooked food is a lot more easily digested than raw food. The human body absorbs the nutrients of cooked food much more readily compared to raw food.

Indeed, the consumption of cooked food reduces the energy required for digestion by about a quarter. This freed up energy for our bodies to use for other more important activities, such as reproduction, thereby allowing us to better survive.

In this sense, cooking proved to be an evolutionary breakthrough for humans. Our bodies evolved according to new circumstances and functions. Constantly eating cooked food actually allowed human guts to become smaller.

Smaller organs and access to ready energy not needed for digestion also helped develop the human brain, further differentiating humans from animals. Our brains use at least 20% of the energy our bodies produce compared to other primates, which only use around 10%.

Researchers believe that this shift in energy use allowed the human brain to grow larger and perform higher level functions. In this sense, cooking may have had a direct impact on our evolution to a higher species.

It is easy to see, then, why many say cooking made us human. It is certainly not the only factor, but it did have an impact on the path our evolutionary development took.

So the next time you whip something up in the kitchen, say a little thank you to those cavemen who first learned to cook. We are what we eat, and cooking made us what we are today.

Since you’re here …

… we’ve got a small favour to ask. More people are reading CAVEMENWORLD than ever, but few are paying for it. Advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike some othe organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our articles open to all. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. CAVEMENWORLD’s independent, investigative journalism and graphics take a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Related Tags:
| | |
[erq id=13]
Miko Cavemen

MIKO is a vigorous young man who can be very clever… with a spear!

© 2014 CAVEMENWORLD S.L.| All rights reserved Design by Najuzaith ZahellGoogle+

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares