Thursday, May 27, 2004
THE EVOLUTION OF COOKING
edge.org: "According to Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham, almost two million years ago humans emerged from a stock of pre-human apes. Remarkably, our species is still evolving today, faster than ever. 'Why we evolved then, and why we are still changing, are problems that shape our souls,' he says.
Wrangham believes that humanity was launched by an ape learning to cook. In a burst of evolution around two million years ago, our species developed the family relations that make us such a peculiar kind of animal. Cooking made us women, men and lovers.
'We behave like our two closest relatives,' Wrangham says. 'Chimpanzees and bonobos, because in spite of first appearances, we face somewhat similar kinds of problems to each of those species. Cooking makes our behavior partly chimpanzee-like because it intensifies a chimpanzee-like division of labor. Self-domestication, on the other hand, makes us bonobo-like by selecting for a youthful psyche. In both cases human behavior echoes the biology of our cousins, though never exactly copying it.'"
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