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article imageChimpanzees show the skills necessary for cooking

By Daniel Woods     Jun 4, 2015 in Science
A research group at Harvard studied Chimpanzees in order to gain an insight as to how humans evolved the skills to cook.
Harvard researchers have published a study which they claim demonstrates Chimpanzees possess all the cognitive powers necessary to engage in the act of cooking food.
The findings published in the scientific journal Proceedings of Royal Society B, suggest that Chimpanzees are cognisant with notions of planning, understand the cause-and-effect relationship of cooking and also the delayed gratification it involves.
The chimps showed they could choose to abstain from eating raw foods, preferring to wait for them to be cooked and were also able to hoard and transport food, saving it for cooking at a later date.
When the primate subjects were offered the distinct options of having their sweet potatoes cooked or raw — they invariably chose hot over cold, roasted in fact. The result was the same even if a wait was involved.
The researchers are hoping to develop their understanding of exactly how humans developed the skill of cooking, as it remains something of a mystery.
The advent of cooking is highly significant in human evolution, because the caloric content and nutritional benefits of cooked food had a major impact on our physiological development.
Observation of the unique cognitive abilities required for cooking and food preparation in the behaviour of our closest living primate relatives, indicates that these intellectual skills were latent in our ancestors, and their elaboration simply hinged on the serendipitous discovery of how to make fire, and indeed, probably preceded it.
More about Chimpanzee, Chimps, research chimps, Primates, primatology
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