Cooking and preparing food has caused a dramatic change in human evolution
This new theory from researchers suggests that if we had not learned to cook, not only would we still be like chimpanzees, but like them we would have to spend a large part of our day chewing.
The theory is that if it were not for cooked food, a normal person would have to consume about five kilograms of raw materials a day to absorb the calories needed to survive. This means spending six hours a day chewing.
It is an accepted theory that with the introduction of red meat into the diet of human ancestors, their brains grew and their intelligence increased.
Red meat not only enlarged the brains of human ancestors, but also ended their need to spend all their time searching for food to conserve energy. As a result, there was an opportunity to build social structures.
Professor Richard Rangam of Harvard University believes that it is not just a matter of turning to red meat as a food.
In his opinion, what has caused a profound change in human evolution has been the way food is prepared.
He believes that cooking has played the highest role in increasing the quality of food throughout life.
“To understand how and when our bodies changed, we need to look more closely at what our ancestors ate by examining fossils,” he said.
Our oldest ancestor was Australopithecus, which resembled ape.
This creature had a large abdomen containing a very large intestine. Which needed large teeth to digest hard plant material, which was used to grind and crush hard plants.
However, the most important transformation took place 1.8 million years ago when Homo erectus – our first “really human” ancestor – came into being.
Homo erectus had an even larger brain and smaller jaws and teeth.
Erectus’ body was something like ours. Shorter arms and longer legs appeared, and the plant-digesting abdomen disappeared, meaning that the erectus could not only stand but also run on two legs. He was smarter and faster and, according to Rangam, had learned to cook.
“Cooking made the human stomach smaller. When we cooked our food, we did not need a big belly,” say the researchers.
According to them, the abdomen is expensive in terms of energy. People born with small bellies were able to store their energy, have more children, and survive better.
Professor Peter Wheeler of John Morse University in Liverpool and his colleague Leslie Elo think that it was this change in our digestive system that made our brains bigger.
Cooking breaks down food cells so that the stomach has to work less to release the nutrients the body needs.
According to Wheeler, this development “released energy that provided the fuel needed by the larger brain. Increasing the size of the brain is associated with a smaller abdomen.”
Interestingly, Wheeler and Ilo found that reducing the size of the gastrointestinal tract was exactly the same as increasing the size of the brain by 20 percent.
Professor Stephen Secor of the University of Alabama found that cooked food not only released more energy into the body, but also used less energy to digest it.
Cooking food is basically a type of pre-digestion that transfers energy consumption from the stomach to the brain.
According to Wheeler, Rangam and colleagues, it is no coincidence that man – the most intelligent creature on earth – is the only species that cooks.
Now that we know where the philosophy of cooking food came from, on this site we want to introduce you to the cooking recipes of the tribes and peoples of different countries of the world, whose cooking recipes have evolved over the years and are evolving.