Catching Fire: How Coooking Made us Human by Richard Wrangham is a fresh perspective on the evolution of humankind. Wrangham has made a concentrated effort to prove that humans have evolved particular adaptations, like bipedalism, due to the introduction of cooked foods into their diet. In his book, he is legitimately arguing that humans are the way they are because early on in human evolution, early man discovered fire, discovered the joys of cooked foods, and developed all sorts of fascinating traits still being utilized today.
Chapter one of Catching Fire is an explanation of the Raw-Food diet that has become popular in recent years. The author chooses first to explore the history of raw food, then share with the reader the raw-food experiment…show more content… It is emphasized that there is little proof to be found in the archaeological record, but we can track hominin dependence on cooked foods, and thus fire, by evolutionary changes in the skeletons of human ancestors. Reasons for making the shift to cooked foods is unknown, but it is hypothesized that the taste of cooked foods was what first turned hominins onto the joys of cooking.
Following this central theme of humans and fire, Wrangham shares with the reader the plethora of theories that have been developed in the hopes of explaining the modern human brain. He settles on what he declares most plausible, the social brain hypothesis, which compares brain size with the size of mammalian guts. Following this hypothesis, it is proposed that more effective food preparation, with fire, would have allowed for more advanced digestion, and thus more advanced…show more content… Obviously, Wrangham is interested in persuading the reader that the reason humans are the way we are is because of fire. The argument is compelling, and it is clear Wrangham has spent much of his time ensuring he has as much proof as possible to offer the reader. In an innovative choice of design, the reader is taken through humans and cooked foods, starting with the raw food fad. He utilizes the fad to show the reader that humans do not fare well on a cooked food, and from there shows physical adaptations to cooked food. Moving past physical adaptions, Wrangham examines the nutritional benefits of cooked foods, the other resources cooking makes available, and then comes back to the truly human side of things: culture and psychology. He finishes his book, and thus his argument, in a strange passage about the obesity ‘crisis’ and addressing modern consumption of modern