Cooking, Evolution, and Brain GrowthAnthropology Education 

Cooking, Evolution, and Brain Growth

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Cooking establishes the difference between animals and people. In fact, we’re not the only social animals that sit down to eat together, but we are the only ones who cook. But how is cooking linked to human brain’s growth and evolution? This is a video from Dr. Joe Hanson’s It’s Okay To Be Smart series.

Cooking helped humans strengthen social bonds and cooperation. Although our brain uses one-fifth of the calories that we eat, we spend only 5 percent of our daily lives eating, while Chimpanzees and Gorillas spend more than half of their day eating. What happened 1.8 million years ago when we transitioned from more ape-like creatures to Homo-Erectus?

Cooking made a difference. When plants are cooked, it breaks down their tough cell walls, which lets them release more nutrients, and it makes them easier to chew.

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