Richard Wrangham's Catching Fire

1212 Words5 Pages
In his book Catching Fire, Richard Wrangham attempts to explain how cooking aided in our evolution and made us the humans we are today. He asserts that humans began cooking over 1 million years ago. Most other historians believe cooking to be a more recent human activity. He believes that changes in the human face and brain is because of cooking food. He hypothesized that we learned to cook by accident. Perhaps they accidentally dropped their food in the fire and decided they liked it, which set humans off on a completely different course. For example, the jaw. Cooked food is easier to eat and digest. Therefore, when eating softer, cooked foods, our jaws don’t have to exert as much energy. Over time, this has led to a smaller, weaker and…show more content…
Instead, it was cooked tubers. He says these starchy roots would have been abundant in Africa, even when a drier climate made fruits, animals and vegetables scarce. Observations of modern apes offers some support to his theory. For instance, chimps in the dry regions of Africa dig down at least an arm’s length to get to the moist roots (Pennisi 2014). He also believes that tubers were responsible for the size gap between males and females being narrowed. His theory is that since cooking food requires it to be gathered and held in one place, it made it easier for males to steal food from females. Thus, females would recruit other males to thwart the theft. Since this offered plenty of mating opportunity, there was less competition between males, and less selection of larger males. Therefore, while females evolved larger body sizes, male size stayed the same (Wrangham 2009). This theory is controversial, mainly because it is widely accepted that humans did not start cooking that far back in time. If early humans did cook tubers over a million years ago, there would be some evidence of it. For many scientists, there is just not enough evidence to be able to accept that early humans cooked 1.8 million years

    More about Richard Wrangham's Catching Fire

      Open Document