Why Do We Cook?

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Ever wonder why we cook our food? We do it because it tastes good, of course, and because our customs and traditions are built around it. But we also cook our food for some basic biological reasons, because of evolution. Some scientists think that figuring out how to cook actually MADE us human!

If conversation gets a little dry around your holiday table, now you’ll have some awesome science to share with everyone!

Richard Wrangham – “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human”

“The Raw and the Stolen” (PDF) – Richard Wrangham et al.
(that one has some of the counterarguments, too)
Greg Laden’s summary:

Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain:

Man Entered the Kitchen 1.9 Million Years Ago:

What made us human: and

The story might not be quite so simple, though:


Have an idea for an episode or an amazing science question you want answered? Leave a comment below!

Tweet at me: @jtotheizzoe
Email me: itsokaytobesmart AT gmail DOT com
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Joe Hanson – Host
Joe Nicolosi – Director
Amanda Fox – Producer, Spotzen IncKatie Graham – Director of Photography
John Knudsen – Gaffer
Isaac Hammons – Audio Recordist
Stephen Bohls, Editor, Kino-Eye POST
Christopher Chiles, Motion Graphics
Kate Eads – Production Manager
Intro music – Victor Herbert Orchestra, “Chinese Dance of the Mirillitons from the Nutcracker 1913”
Body music – Podington Bear’s “AlgoRhythmNatural”
Special thanks to Thinkery Austin

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Last week’s video:
How To Read Science News:

More videos:
Remembering Carl Sagan
Ghosts of Evolution:
Exoplanets Part 1:
Exoplanets Part 2:

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Comment (33)

  1. So if the increase in protein from meat was responsible for our increased brain size then why are we the only one's?? Why aren't all the other carnivores evolving the same way? Anyone know? Any evolutionary biologists out there?

  2. I have a theory that cooking came about when meat/food was on a hot ground it cooked the food. And where in the world is the hottest temps all located at? Mainly northern africa

  3. Evolution theroy is a false religion. It is also not scientific and it has zero evidence. The one who with his entire heart seeks God will find him. Something lile that i remember is written it the holy Bible. I whant to help you whovere is reading this. Here is proof that evolution theory is false https://youtu.be/vYLy7CCgqDk


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