A report in the Guardian yesterday, about a new study which adds to the mounting scientific evidence that our ability to cook has played a significant part in our evolution as human beings. In this study, it speaks specifically about ‘brain power,’ but it’s not such a jump to suggest that this applies to the development of our consciousness. To my knowledge, evolution hasn’t stopped. Perhaps there is more in store for us, when we engage with food and cooking, consciously.
‘Gorillas, they suggest, already live on the limit of viability, foraging and eating for 8.8 hours a day, and in extreme conditions increasing this to as much as 10 hours a day. In contrast, humans’ move to a cooked diet, possibly first adopted by Homo erectus, and their bigger brains yet smaller bodies, left spare energy which allowed further rapid growth in brain size and the chance to develop the big brain as an asset rather than a liability, through expanded cognitive capacity, flexibility and complexity.
“We propose that this change from liability to asset made possible the rapid increase in brain size that characterises the evolution of Homo species, leading to ourselves. We may thus owe our vast cognitive abilities to the invention of cooking – which, to my knowledge, is by far the easiest and most obvious answer to the question, what can humans do that no other species does?” Herculano-Houzel commented on the paper, published in the journal PNAS, the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences of the USA.’
For the full article, click here.