Skip to comments.Who Mastered Fire?
Posted on 10/06/2012 1:16:02 PM PDT by presidio9
Richard Wrangham, an anthropologist at Harvard, claims that hominids became peoplethat is, acquired traits like big brains and dainty jawsby mastering fire. He places this development at about 1.8 million years ago. This is an appealing premise no matter who you are. For those who see cooking as morally, culturally, and socially superior to not cooking, it is scientific validation of a worldview: proof that cooking is literally what makes us human. For the rest of us, it means we have a clever retort the next time one of those annoying raw-food faddists starts going on about how natural it is never to eat anything heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Theres one problem with Wranghams elegant hypothesis: Its hardly the scientific consensus. In fact, since 2009, when Wrangham explained his theory in the book Catching Fire, several archaeologists have come forward with their own, wildly divergent opinions about what is arguably the oldest intellectual property debate in the world. Who really mastered fire, in the sense of being able to create it, control it, and cook with it regularly? Was it Homo erectus, Neanderthals, or modern humans?
A brief primer on these species: H. erectus originated about 1.8 million years ago. These hominids were about as tall as modern humans, but probably hairier and definitely dumber. Its thought that both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens evolved from H. erectus, with Neanderthals emerging about 600,000 years ago (and going extinct around 30,000 years ago) and modern humans emerging around 200,000 years ago (and still going strong). Neanderthals were shorter and had more complex societies than H. erectus, and theyre thought to have been at least as large-brained as modern humans, but their facial features protruded a little more and their bodies were stouter than ours. Its thought that Neanderthals
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I don't know but O'bomber is a master-debater.
I’ve read Wrangham’s CATCHING FIRE; he makes a very strong case that eating cooked food was the major influence on human evolution from the very beginning of our divergence from the apes.
We are fire apes.
the first recorded chef... who was looking for a cooking show??
Chomping down on a nice grilled steak right now, but I have also joined the sushi cult.
That’s why fire ants are secretly taking over the world.
I, for one, welcome our ant overlords...
How interesting. That means prostitution is the world’s third oldest profession: Right behind Farmer and now Chef.
When Holder helps him, he can go Fast and Furious when you hand him a mirror.
Not sure they could do any worse. At least they have good work ethics.
"Gatherer" and "Hunter" preceded all of the above...
Um, if "farmer" is a profession, than so are "hunter," "fisherman," and probably "architect." And maybe "critic."
Not sure what we do with "stay at home mom."
Nope, it's the oldest. That's how we discovered fire.
Prometheus passed it to us.
Wrong! There are Two problems! The other is this: