How smart were our fire-taming ancestors?

The discovery of fire was a key moment in the human prehistory. With fire our ancestors would’ve been able to cook food, making digestion more efficient. The benefits of this are so great that we’ve now become dependent on cooking food and people who’ve attempted to live of raw food alone have suffered from chronic…

First fire wasn’t 1 million years ago

For those of you keeping up with this blog, I recently wrote about the discovery of fire being controlled by hominins 1 million years ago, ~700,000 years earlier than previously thought. For those of you not keeping up (or simply fancy a refresher), here is a link. However, it turns out even this latest figure…

First flames: earliest man-made fire found?

In the stereotypical view of prehistory, fire is important. We imagine caveman and cavewoman gathering around a cavefire to heat their cavehouse. In our minds eye fire was a key part of prehistoric life and this mental image is surprisingly close to the truth. Fire was indeed an important part of our cultural evolution. It…

The origin of cooking

Today’s question comes from a Stuart Worley, submitted via the feedback form. Could you point me to (or discuss yourself) an explanation of how complex (TBD) cooking techniques “evolved”? In short, how did we get from eating single substances to, “gee, I think I’ll put all of these various, unrelated items into a big pot…