Cooking requires social graces that chimps don’t posses, Harvard study

A recent study suggests evidence that our ability to cook and our preference for cooked food may have been inherited from our simian ancestors.

This study, published in one of the journals of the Royal Society, also concludes that the human ability to cook may have developed as soon as they learned to control fire.

Dr. Felix Warneken of Harvard University tested this hypothesis by conducting a series of experiments to see what cognitive skills chimps would use in several situations: whether they chose cooked food over raw food; if they had the patience to wait until raw food gets cooked, and if they had the concept of patience innate to human beings so as to willingly put raw food in a box which scientists would replace for cooked food. The chimps fared very well in all these tests.

Dr. Warneken’s study yields additional evidence to prove the evolution theory. However, although humans and primates possess similar cognitive skills particularly where food preferences are involved, human beings are still a notch higher, defeating the chimps with their (human being’s) ability to cook.  Dr. Warneken explains why.  “Not being able to control fire is one reason and … another is that cooking requires ‘social skills’ that chimps don’t have,” says Dr. Warneken.   He further attributes this to their inability to trust their peers not to steal their food while they prepare to cook.





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