Cooked Food Gave us Large Brains
Meat grilled over a fire started an evolution that ended with a unique species of super intelligent, hairless ape.
Fire might be the reason why we have large brains. Over the past 1.8 million years, the size of the human brain has more than doubled, and according to some scientists, this is due to our unique ability to prepare food over a fire.
It is difficult to extract calories from raw food, which requires large quantities of energy to digest, but fire can take care of the hard work for us, making more calories available to the brain. The oldest known indication of the use of fire is, however, only about one million years old, so new discoveries are necessary to confirm the link between fire and our growing brain.
The result of the fast development is a brain which, with its 1,350 cm3, is more than three times larger than a chimp’s. The extra brain cells have ensured improved control of our larynx and so provided us with our perhaps most important capacity: language.