Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham. A study of cooking serves up some tasty morsels, but also empty calories. In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that At the heart of Catching Fire lies an explosive new idea: the habit of eating. But in Catching Fire, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham presents a startling alternative: our evolutionary success is the result of cooking.

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The weight of our guts is estimated at about 60 percent of what is e?

Until recently some scientists, such as David Jenkins, saw cooking as reducing protein digestibility. Their brains, too, were barely larger than those of chinpanzees, which suggests that they would have been as uninterested in the reasons for their existence as the antelopes and predators with which they shared their woodlands.

But when his gunpowder was nearly spent, “he got fire by rubbing two sticks of Piemento Wood together upon his knee. Cut marks on fossil bones show that the simple knives were used to cut tongues out of dead antelope and to get hunks of meat by slicing through tendons on animal limbs. Wrangham points out that humans are highly evolved for eating cooked food and cannot maintain reproductive fitness with raw food. Ever since Darwin and The Descent of Manthe existence of humans has been attributed to our intelligence and adaptability.

Creationists, vegans, or raw foodists. His theories were well supported and well argued.

Cooked food does many familiar things. We need to know what cooking does. Aug 07, Michael rated it liked it Shelves: The fragments testify to cobblestones being deliberately clashed to produce a tool.


The cavalry saved time by riding without cooking, and they avoided producing the smoke that might reveal their position to hostile forces.

When soup was swallowed, the stomach was at first slow to respond. They might therefore have been adapted to eating tough foods, including raw meat.

Full text of “Catching Fire [How Cooking Made Us Human].pdf (PDFy mirror)”

Beaumont observed that softer food was digested faster, and since faster or easier digestion demands less metabolic effort, softer food might lead to energy saved during digestion. Tracing the contemporary implications of our ancestors’ diets, Catching Fire sheds new light on how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today.

Astringency is caused by the presence of tannins, which bind to proteins and cause them to precipitate.

They had been so resentfijl of their forced removal that they had escaped with the aim of returning to their ancestral homeland. If it is as carcinogenic to humans as it is to other animals, it is dangerous, ff not, it may provide evidence of human adaptation to Maillard conpounds, and hence of a long exposure to heated foods.

The notes are very detailed and comprise almost a quarter of the book which made the end feel oddly abrupt. Mar 27, Amy Raby rated it it was amazing. The natural way, they explained, is to do what chinpanzees do.

If our mouths, teeth, jaws, and stomachs all indicate that humans are not adapted to eating lumps of raw meat, they might in theory be designed to digest meat that has been processed without being cooked. I approached Secor in to ask if he would be interested in the following study. A team of Japanese scientists led by Kyoko Oka reared twenty rats on two different food regimes. Preparing an imu is hard, heavy work; it is done by men. Even without genetic evolution, animals reared experimentally on soft diets develop smaller jaws and teeth.


Hunters might have chased antelope on long runs until the quarry collapsed from exhaustion. The effects of cooking are captured by conparing the glycemic index of cooked and raw foods. For a very long time anthropologists simply did not consider female activities to be of great significance.

His wrsngham about the Inuit eating most of their food raw has been an inportant main-stay of the raw-foodist movement ever since. Cooking softens food, and soft food is more easily digested and requires less energy to utilize than hard food.

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

By measuring how much oxygen the pythons consume before and after a meal, Secor measures precisely how much energy the snakes use, and can attribute it to the cost of digestion. The femur chunks were the size of golf balls. Most anthropologists have followed Darwin’s assumption that cooking has been a late addition to the human skill set, a valuable tradition without any biological or evolutionary significance.

Our awkwardness in trees is due partly to our having long legs and flat feet, but those same legs and feet enable us to walk more efficiently than other apes. Wrangham shows that true raw foodists are very rare. They “enjoyed the flavour of the raw food as only starving people can. Cooked food is poison. In contrast to the new finding, in the past raw eggs have often been claimed to be an ideal source of calories, for reasons that sound logical.