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What I want to know is... how did we get smart enough to cook food... before we reaped the benefits of a larger brain from cooking it?!

It's an interesting talk... but from the start, there was something different about humans, in that we came up with the idea of cooking in the first place. Does that make us better/ superior? I don't think so... but certainly does make us unique.

  • Dec 13 2013: Some ancient humanoid (not quite biologically human, its on the order of a million years ago) probably picked over the carcass of some wild animal that died in a fire, and got the idea from there.

    As cooked meat is a lot less likely to contain parasites, in addition to being easier to digest, a fondness of it is a significant evolutionary advantage. The human in question wouldn't even have to know that cooked meat was better for him, he'd just need to be smart enough to learn how to start his own fire, or at least scavenge a flame from a natural fire and keep it lit.
    Even making a fire from scratch isn't all that bad in the warm, dry African savannah. Something with the intelligence of a modern human is overkill, to be honest.
  • Dec 13 2013: may never know the answer so if I may I would like to throw out my suggestion. I believe that many, not all discoveries come about by chance. So lightning strikes a tree and a dweller see's it's glow at night and investigates. In so doing he finds warmth and light and decides to bring this back to his cave. Another person finds a piece of scrap brontosaurs burger laying around and brings that back to share. A tussle occurs over who gets what and the meat accidentally falls into the fire, well they know by touching that fire burns so they leave it be until the next morning. A hungry child wakes the next morning sniffs around and finds the discarded scrap and tastes it and wha-la yummy first cooked meat. Can such a question have such a simple answer or does it need to be more complex?
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    Dec 13 2013: vivian, do you want more time on this, if so, click "edit" and add more time, right now you have 13 hours