Cooking is one of the core chores for mankind to survive. It has been and will always be a part of survival and living, no matter what one’s status in life is. It does not preclude geographical, cultural, or racial issue, not even the kinds of meals you prepare. Heat is essential to cook meals. Some may be successful in coming up with perfect meals, others may not. But when exactly did it start? Now, it seems that science has found a way to get the answer.
As old as history itself, the origin of cooking has been a debatable issue for many people. Despite the evidence for the use of fire in cooking noted from 400,000 to 700,000 years ago, nobody knows exactly when cooking was discovered or where it came from. But a new study revealed that cooking may have been produced by our ancient ancestors, 1.9 million years ago – the homo erectus, the first batch of modern humans or even the species that survived in Africa before them. The homo sapien species were able to cook and prepare food in a processed manner. It was a major evolutionary step that differentiated humans from animals.
Through DNA analysis, studying the body mass and molar size of every primate, 14 extinct hominids, and of the modern humans, it was discovered that indeed, the homo erectus may have had the skill and knowledge that was needed for cooking. They carefully studied each species’ family tree, DNA and everything that involves eating. It was discovered that the non-human primates had larger molar sizes as compared to the smaller molar sizes of the modern humans. For some unknown reason, smaller molars have evolved after this event. The scientists believe that this may have been caused by cooking as it meant more consumption of calories. Cooking softens hard foods, and this enables the species to consume the food in a much lesser time manner. Instead of spending the day on some endless food chewing, they will only need less time for digestion.
The scientists have emerged with the theory that cooking indeed holds the explanation for feeding times and tooth sizes of their subjects. When humans learned how to soften and cook food, no longer that larger molar teeth were needed for chewing, and thus, emerged the smaller molars in humans. Unbelievable as it, only history and science can tell whether this is a fact or a faux.
Thanks to modern technology, it has revolutionized lifestyle including cooking and eating. This new scientific study adds up to cooking’s unknown history. If homo erectus learned how to cook, it’s not impossible that cooking may have sparked at an earlier time of historicity and from which modern food science and technology emanated.