By Richard W. Wrangham

In Catching fireplace, well known primatologist Richard Wrangham argues that our evolutionary luck is the results of cooking. as soon as our hominid ancestors begun cooking, the human digestive tract shrank and the mind grew; and pair bonding, marriage, the family, or even the sexual department of work emerged. A pathbreaking concept of human evolution, Catching fireplace will fascinate an individual drawn to our historical originsor our sleek consuming behavior.

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Extra resources for Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

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The best prevention is to cook meat, fish, and eggs beyond oF (oC), and not to eat foods containing unpasteurized milk or eggs. The cooking hypothesis suggests that because our ancestors have typically been able to cook their meat, humans have remained vulnerable to bacteria that live on raw meat. Anthropology has traditionally adopted the Man-theHunter scenario, proposing our species as a creature that was modified from australopithecines principally by our tendency to eat more meat. Certainly meat eating has been an important factor in human evolution and nutrition, but it has had less impact on our bodies than cooked food.

In humans the surface area of the stomach is less than one-third the size expected for a typical mammal of our body weight, and smaller than in  percent of other primates. The high caloric density of cooked food suggests that our stomachs can afford to be small. Great apes eat perhaps twice as much by weight per day as we do because their foods are packed with indigestible fiber (around  percent by weight, compared to  percent to  percent or less in human diets). Thanks to the high caloric density of cooked food, we have modest needs that are adequately served by our small stomachs.

Our second digestive specialization is having weaker jaws. You can feel for yourself that our chewing muscles, the 0465013623-Wrangham:Layout 1  3/18/09 12:54 PM Page 42 catching fire temporalis and masseter, are small. In nonhuman apes these muscles often reach all the way from the jaw to the top of the skull, where they sometimes attach to a ridge of bone called the sagittal crest, whose only function is to accommodate the jaw muscles. In humans, by contrast, our jaw muscles normally reach barely halfway up the side of our heads.

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