Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Front Cover
Basic Books, 2009 - Social Science - 309 pages
42 Reviews

Ever since Darwin and The Descent of Man, the existence of humans has been attributed to our intelligence and adaptability. But in Catching Fire, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham presents a startling alternative: our evolutionary success is the result of cooking. In a groundbreaking theory of our origins, Wrangham shows that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. When our ancestors adapted to using fire, humanity began. Once our hominid ancestors began cooking their food, the human digestive tract shrank and the brain grew. Time once spent chewing tough raw food could be sued instead to hunt and to tend camp. Cooking became the basis for pair bonding and marriage, created the household, and even led to a sexual division of labor. 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. A pathbreaking new theory of human evolution, Catching Fire will provoke controversy and fascinate anyone interested in our ancient origins—or in our modern eating habits.

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Review: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

User Review  - John - Goodreads

The information is good and it's presented with much repetition. Catching Fire describes the climbing see-saw of change fueled by cooking. Wrangham posits that cooking helped us make the transition to ... Read full review

Review: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

User Review  - Marta Zaraska - Goodreads

A thought provoking, well written book. Richard Wrangham, Harvard University primatologist, believes that, in a way, cooked food made us human. He argues that cooked food is much easier to digest than ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Richard Wrangham is the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and Curator of Primate Behavioral Biology at the Peabody Museum. He is the co-author of Demonic Males and co-editor of Chimpanzee Cultures. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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