Nine experiments were conducted at the Tchimpounga Sanctuary in the Republic of Congo and a study published on Tuesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggested that chimps have enough intelligence to be able to ‘cook’ including causal understanding, planning and facility for gratification postponement.
Because chimpanzees are not capable of producing fire, if they were given a source of heat, they “might be quite able to manipulate it” to be able to cook, Felix Warneken said, a developmental psychologist from Harvard University, who together with Alexandra Rosati, conducted the study.
The finding may seem to be cryptic, but it supports the idea that cooking fast-tracked the evolution of humankind. Because cooked food is considerably easier to digest, prompting our australopithecine forebears brain to grow bigger, Richard Wrangham of Harvard had suggested a decade ago.
If chimps have the inherent intellectual ability to cook, then most probably, the australopithecines likely did too, Wrangham said of the study that he was not involved in. “It suggests that with a little extra brain power, australopithecines could indeed have found a way to use fire to cook food,” he added.
Archaeological findings proposed that human beings only began to use fire a million years ago.
Other scientists also confirmed the fact that chimps prefer scorched sweet potatoes than raw. But their study of the mental capability of chimps to cook was not tested then.