Posts Tagged ‘Richard Wrangham’

What can humans do that no other species does?

Posted in articles on October 24th, 2012 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

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.

Front Page news

Posted in writings on April 6th, 2012 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

The Guardian obliged with a heartwarming story this week: the discovery by scientists of evidence of a 1 million year old fireplace, which gives weight to the theory posited by Richard Wrangham in his book ‘Catching Fire: Cooking Made Us Human.’ It is a theory that doesn’t seem like such a leap, that our ancestors made a huge evolutionary jump when they began to use fire to cook food, transforming it into a more digestible form which allowed energy in our bodies to be redirected from digestive purposes to development of our brain, our consciousness. It’s exciting to see this on the front page of a major paper. It’s only a small step from here, to the realisation that when we connect with the process of evolution by engaging consciously with food and cooking, we connect to our own transformation, and evolution. As individuals, and as a species. It may take a while for scientists to prove that assertion, but you can try it out for yourself, in your own personal laboratory, at home in the kitchen. Full Guardian article here.


Primeval Soup

Posted in reviews on August 23rd, 2011 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

As seen in The Guardian today: an article affirming the link between Cooking, and the biological evolution of mankind. Co-authored by Richard Wrangham, author of the wonderful book ‘Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human.’ Perhaps further scientific study will reveal that evolution continues, apace, and that the kitchen continues to be a key place for transformation to take place, and for life to emerge. Krishna looks on approvingly.

Catching Fire, digested

Posted in writings on July 30th, 2010 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

I just finished ‘Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human‘ by Richard Wrangham, which was a fascinating read. It provides an explanation of something Jean Torné has alluded to many times in the kitchen, that Cooking is intrinsically linked to our own evolution, in the past but also in the present. It explains quite a simple concept, about how eating cooked food which required less digestive energy freed up energy for growth of the brain, and led to the biological development and transformation of Mankind. This biological transformation is directly linked to the development of consciousness. Approaching cooking with this awareness reconnects us to this process. Our evolution continues, everyday, in the kitchen.


A talk given by Richard Wrangham at this years ‘Harvard Thinks Big’ is available here.