Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

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Profile Books, Aug 6, 2010 - Science - 309 pages
18 Reviews

In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that caused the extraordinary transformation of our ancestors from apelike beings to Homo erectus. At the heart of Catching Fire lies an explosive new idea: the habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow, helped structure human society, and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as "the cooking apes".

Covering everything from food-labelling and overweight pets to raw-food faddists, Catching Fire offers a startlingly original argument about how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today.

"This notion is surprising, fresh and, in the hands of Richard Wrangham, utterly persuasive ... Big, new ideas do not come along often in evolution these days, but this is one." -Matt Ridley, author of Genome

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sharon.Flesher - LibraryThing

This book was interesting and well-researched (the endnotes are about a third of the book), but details were a bit repetitive and beyond the scope of my interest in the topic. I think i would've ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Amelia_Smith - LibraryThing

This was an interesting book about human evolution, well-written and informative. The thing that bugged me about it was the final chapter. The jacket promised that this book would discuss what had ... Read full review

Contents

THE COOKING HYPOTHESIS
1
1 QUEST FOR RAWFOODISTS
15
2 THE COOKS BODY
37
3 THE ENERGY THEORY OF COOKING
55
4 WHEN COOKING BEGAN
83
5 BRAIN FOODS
105
6 HOW COOKING FREES MEN
129
7 THE MARRIED COOK
147
8 THE COOKS JOURNEY
179
THE WELLINFORMED COOK
195
Acknowledgments
209
Notes
213
Bibliography
257
Index
289
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Richard Wrangham has taught biological anthropology at Harvard University since 1989. His major interests are chimpanzee behavioral ecology, the evolution of violence and tolerance, human dietary adaptation, and the conservation of chimpanzees and other apes. He has studied chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda, since 1987.

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