[Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]
Harvard Professor Richard Wrangham believes that it is not so much a change in the ingredients of our diet,but the way in which we prepare them that has caused the radical evolution of our species.Our ancestors most probably dropped food in fire accidentally & they would have found it was delicious and that set us off on a whole new direction.Since then they may Gathered around a blazing fire,probably made first archaic kebab,munching cooked meat and might share it and may be planed to continue there after.Eating cooked food allowed these early hominids to spend less time gnawing on raw material and
digesting it,providing time and energy to do other things instead,like socialize.The strenuous cognitive demands of communicating and socializing forced human ancestors to develop more powerful brains,which required more calories-calories
that cooked food provided.Cooking,in other words,allowed us to become human.The control of fire allowed early hominids to not only cook their food,but obtain
warmth,allowing them to shed body hair and in turn run faster without overheating;to develop calmer personalities,enabling social structures around the hearth and even to form relationships among men and women-In short, to become human.If we ate an only raw diet,to maintain the body size we humans possess,as well as the number of neurons our brains possess,people would have to eat for more than 9 hours per day.Cooked food allowed Homo erectus to overcome these limitations,As a consequence,more time was available for social structure to
develop.Cooking is something we all take for granted but a new theory suggests that if we had not learned to cook food,not only would we still look like chimps but,like
them,we would also be compelled to spend most of the day chewing.Without cooking,an average person would have to eat around five kilos of raw food to get enough calories to survive.

To understand how and when our bodies changed,we need to take a closer look at what our ancestors ate by studying the fossil records.Our earliest ancestor was the ape-like Australopithecus.Australopithecus had a large belly containing a big large-
intestine,essential to digest the robust plant matter,and had large,flat teeth which it used for grinding and crushing tough vegetation.None the less,it was Australopithecus that moved out of the trees and onto the African savannah,and started to eat the animals that grazed there.And it was this change of habitat,lifestyle and diet that also prompted major changes in anatomy.The eating of meat ties in with an evolutionary shift 2.3 million years ago resulting in a more human-looking ancestor with sharper teeth and a 30% bigger brain,called Homo habilis.The most momentous shift however, happened 1.8 million years ago when Homo erectus -our first "truly human" ancestor arrived on the scene.Homo erectus had an even bigger brain,smaller jaws and teeth.Erectus also had a similar body shape to us.Shorter arms and longer legs appeared,and gone was the large vegetable-processing gut,meaning that Erectus could not only walk upright,but could also run.He was cleverer and faster,


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