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Human Brain and Cooking

No I’m not talking about cooking the human brain, but about the fact that humans is the only species that cooks its food. And there is a reason for that, this is what allows us be how we are. Cooked food allows an easier way to digest food, and to absorb more energy from the food than when eating it raw, so it is not only a question of taste, or killing bacterias, but it also is a way to help our digestive system get the most out of food in a shorter time.

In fact, if it was not for cooking, we would have to spend about the whole day eating raw food to have enough energy to power our brain and body. The truth is that our brain is just the same as any primate brain. The number of neurons for a brain of a given size is the same for any primate, ours is simply bigger. Note that I insisted on the primate, that is because we don’t have the biggest brain, that probably would be the whale, brain, but we do have the highest number of neurons, and that explains our cognitive abilities. It also is the most energy hungry brain, and the only way we can be a viable species is by cooking, and that is an amazing fact, that I find not known well enough.

To get more information on the subject, you can dive directly into the work of Suzana Herculano-Houzel or, for a shorter and yet very comprehensive version, watch this great TED talk she gave: