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Catching Fire

How Cooking made us Human
Narrated by: Kevin Pariseau
Length: 6 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)
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Summary

Ever since Darwin and The Descent of Man, the existence of humans has been attributed to our intelligence and adaptability. But in Catching Fire, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham presents a startling alternative: our evolutionary success is the result of cooking.

In a groundbreaking theory of our origins, Wrangham shows that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. When our ancestors adapted to using fire, humanity began. Once our hominid ancestors began cooking their food, the human digestive tract shrank and the brain grew. Time once spent chewing tough raw food could be used instead to hunt and to tend camp. Cooking became the basis for pair bonding and marriage, created the household, and even led to a sexual division of labor.

Tracing the contemporary implications of our ancestors diets, Catching Fire sheds new light on how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. A path-breaking new theory of human evolution, Catching Fire will provoke controversy and fascinate anyone interested in our ancient origins - or in our modern eating habits.

©2009 Richard Wrangham (P)2009 Audible

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeanette
  • Barnsley, United Kingdom
  • 01-07-12

Fantastic Evolutionary Psychology and Anthropology

Prof. Richard Wrangham has written several brilliant books on comparative anthropology, and comparative psychology, but this has to be the best. Further, it is excellently read by Kevin Pariseau, which only enhances the arguments and the content. In the end I had to buy the book as well, to refocus on elements of it for my teaching, but that is not to decry the audio book. An excellent antidote to the sad dismissal of cooking as a domestic task in 1970's feminism, and a part explanation for the fascination with competitive cooking on TV - highly recommend.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but fundamentally incorrect

We evolved as carnivores, subsisting on fatty meat for millions of years. The author fails to grasp the existence of the megafauna and its significance to our evolution. The fact that he’s a vegetarian isn’t helping either, he’s motivated to justify his extreme and dangerous diet.