Navigation Links
Harvard scientist says we are what we eat -- and what we cook
Date:6/1/2009

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 1, 2009 -- "You are what you eat." Can these pithy words explain the evolution of the human species?

Yes, says Richard Wrangham of Harvard University, who argues in a new book that the invention of cooking -- even more than agriculture, the eating of meat, or the advent of tools -- is what led to the rise of humanity.

Wrangham's book, "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human," is published today (June 1) by Basic Books. In it, he makes the case that the ability to harness fire and cook food allowed the brain to grow and the digestive tract to shrink, giving rise to our ancestor Homo erectus some 1.8 million years ago.

"Cooking is the signature feature of the human diet, and indeed, of human life -- but we have no idea why," says Wrangham, the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. "It's the development that underpins many other changes that have made humans so distinct from other species."

Drawing on a wide body of research, Wrangham makes the case that cooking makes eating faster and easier, and wrings more caloric benefit from food. Moreover, he writes, cooking is vitally important to supporting the outsize human brain, which consumes a quarter of the body's energy.

By freeing humans from having to spend half the day chewing tough raw food -- as most of our primate relatives do -- cooking allowed early humans to devote themselves to more productive activities, ultimately allowing the development of tools, agriculture, and social networks. Cooked food is also softer, meaning the body uses less energy merely digesting what it takes in.

Since physical remnants of fire tend to degrade rapidly, archaeological evidence of fire and cooking dates back only about 800,000 years. Wrangham looked to biological evidence, which shows that around 1.8 million years ago, Homo erectus arose with larger brains and bodies and smaller guts, jaws, and
'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Organizational Change Management for Sustainability: The Harvard Case Study
2. Eli and Edythe L. Broad make unprecedented gift to endow Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT
3. Wearable Sensors Conceived at Harvard Robotics Lab Measure Hand Forces
4. New discoveries from Harvard and Baylor get to the heart of cardiovascular disease
5. Jeremy Jackson honored by Harvard Museum of Natural History
6. Harvard researchers publish MRI images of genes in action in the living brain
7. BASF and Harvard University announce extensive research collaboration
8. Singapore scientists elected into National Academy of Sciences
9. Scientists explain how death receptors designed to kill our cells may make them stronger
10. Caltech scientists reveal how neuronal activity is timed in brains memory-making circuits
11. Scientists develop a new HIV microbicide -- and a way to mass produce it in plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/22/2014)... straw could be made quicker and cheaper thanks to ... , Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological ... whose cell walls are more easily broken down to ... weaker than regular plants. , The discovery could ... from non-food crops become easier and cheaper to make. ...
(Date:9/22/2014)... Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today ... Investigator Grants valued at more than $12.7 ... promising young scientists. Recipients of the $30,000+/year, ... seek to identify causes, improve treatments and ... affect one in four people, including anxiety, ...
(Date:9/22/2014)... overweight, you may be at greater risk for ... and cancer, according to a new study by ... stress can trigger biological responses similar to the ... normal inflammation is an important part of our ... chronic and life-threatening diseases. , In a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Plant variants point the way to improved biofuel production 2Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards 200 NARSAD Young Investigator grants 2Obesity and stress pack a double hit for health 2
... Miss. A summit that,s both scientific conference and ... front lines of fighting obesity and related metabolic diseases ... sponsored by the University of Mississippi Medical Center and ... the Jackson Convention Complex. Obesity and related ...
... National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded Virginia ... management of zoosporic pathogens and irrigation water quality to ... professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in ... project,s director, explained that the study will help the ...
... The 2011 Croonian Lecture has been awarded to John ... biology and plant sciences. Ellis, an Emeritus Professor in ... Warwick in the UK, is the author of the ... his doctorate in 1960 from King,s College, London, and ...
Cached Biology News:Global Obesity Summit 2010 in Jackson addresses growing epidemic at ground zero 2Global Obesity Summit 2010 in Jackson addresses growing epidemic at ground zero 3Global Obesity Summit 2010 in Jackson addresses growing epidemic at ground zero 4Global Obesity Summit 2010 in Jackson addresses growing epidemic at ground zero 5$2.7 million research award to aid nursery, floriculture industry 2
(Date:9/21/2014)... the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded ... charged molecule for the first time. These extremely ... of molecular properties and may also contribute to ... The results were published in the scientific journal ... of the interaction between matter and light, is ...
(Date:9/20/2014)... USA (PRWEB) September 20, 2014 Entries ... 2015 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation . The ... the multi-billion dollar optics and photonics industry, and is ... and photonics , and Photonics Media . , ... the versatility of photonics, said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. ...
(Date:9/19/2014)...  InterMune, Inc. (Nasdaq: ITMN ) today ... to settle the litigation in the Delaware Court of ... dated as of August 22, 2014, among Roche Holdings, ... term of the Memorandum of Understanding, the Company agreed ... attached exhibit reflecting the amendment to the Company,s Schedule ...
(Date:9/19/2014)... rather than electricity, to move data would consume ... a growing concern as chips, transistor counts rise. ... circuits light emitters, modulators, and detectors ... light source for optical chips is molybdenum disulfide ... as a single, atom-thick layer. Other experimental on-chip ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Uncovering the forbidden side of molecules 2Entry deadline is 10 October for international photonics Prism Awards 2Entry deadline is 10 October for international photonics Prism Awards 3Entry deadline is 10 October for international photonics Prism Awards 4InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 2InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 3InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 4InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 5InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 6InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 7InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 8InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 9InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 10InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 11InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 12InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 13InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 14InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 15InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 16InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 17InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 18InterMune Reports Memorandum of Understanding in Connection with Consolidated Delaware Action 19Toward optical chips 2Toward optical chips 3
... REDWOOD CITY, Calif., March 4 Maxygen, Inc.,(Nasdaq: ... the development of,improved protein drugs, today announced changes ... president in charge of global,business development and U.S. ... business officer. In addition, the company announced the,pending ...
... new independent non-executive directors added to Board with ... ... appointed independent non-executive Chairman, BRISBANE, Australia, March 4 ... John Lee and Robert Williamson to the Company,s Board as,independent ...
... Biosciences,(Nasdaq: MATK ) announced today that life,sDHA, its ... heart health, is available in new So,Good Omega DHA ... selling soymilk brand. Available in original or vanilla flavor, ... major retailers throughout,Canada., "So Good Omega DHA Soymilk ...
Cached Biology Technology:Maxygen Announces Management Changes 2Progen Expands Board of Directors 2Progen Expands Board of Directors 3Progen Expands Board of Directors 4Canada's Best-Selling Soymilk Now Available with Martek's life'sDHA 2Canada's Best-Selling Soymilk Now Available with Martek's life'sDHA 3
...
Rabbit polyclonal to SMARCA2 / BRM - ChIP Grade ( Abpromise for all tested applications). entrezGeneID: 6595 SwissProtID: P51531...
Identify and characterize Phosphoinositide (PI(4,5)P2) binding...
... These skirted micro test tubes are ... of polypropylene, these tubes have uniform walls ... nonsterile, with separate O-ring screw caps. The ... and have an operating range from -55 ...
Biology Products: