You are here

Catching Fire: How Cooking made us Human (Profile Books)

Catching Fire: How Cooking made us Human (Profile Books)

Catching Fire offers a startlingly original argument about how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that caused the extraordinary transformation of our ancestors from apelike beings to Homo erectus. At the heart of Catching Fire lies the groundbreaking new theory that the habit of eating cooked rather than raw food made us human. More than language, emotional intelligence, or the opposable thumb, the mastery of fire created us. Once our ancestors began cooking their food, the human digestive tract began to shrink and the brain to grow. Time once spent chewing tough raw food could be used 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 labour.

About the Author

Richard Wrangham

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