Weekly Response on Wrangham (3/30)

As you all know, the class has been reading “Catching Fire” by Richard Wrangham, and we have recently finished it.  The book was about the effects of cooking on human evolution.  One of the main flaws of this book was that one had to completely agree with the theory of evolution to agree with the book.  Even though I agree with it, I know that some people do not and I feel that this could have hindered there feelings towards the book.

This book was a very interesting thing to read.  I didn’t like Wrangham’s writing style, but that isn’t what we are discussing.  The arguments that Wrangham makes in his book, such as cooked food made us human, caused me some issues.  One of these issues was that almost everything that Wrangham says isn’t backed up by solid facts.  Even though most of the evidence today is based on a few, million year old skeletons, I feel that he should have found more definite facts or chosen different arguments.  Aside from this minor dilemma I feel that he made very valid arguments.

Although I feel that Wrangham made valid arguments, I cannot agree with a few of his points.  The first of these is that cooked food was the most major part of our evolution to becoming human.  Even though I agree that it was a part of it, saying that it is the most prominent factor.  There are many other things that have effected the way we have evolved, such as the geography of the land around us or the ideas of other humans.  To say that cooking was the most prominent aspect, in my opinion, is absurd.  Although cooking has had some major affects, such as the weaker jaw muscles and a bigger brain, in my opinion, its not the greatest factor.

I know that it may sound that I hated this book, but I actually quite enjoyed it and the discussions about it in class.  Wrangham writes about many different studies and tests that have been done on the effects of cooked foods.  I especially like the one with the man with the hole in his stomach.  The studies were one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book.  They were all from reliable sources and helped to solidify his main points.

Overall, after reading this book, I am very convinced that cooking has helped us to become the humans that we are today.  After reading Wrangham’s book, and learning that cooking makes foods softer, thus allowing us to eat faster, and then leading to more time to do other tasks, I am convinced that cooking is what made us human.  hi my name is ben doherty and I am writing about food studies.

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One Response to Weekly Response on Wrangham (3/30)

  1. Mr. Sturdy Knight says:

    So Ben, I have to ask: if cooking was not the most prominent factor in our leap from earlier habilines to homo erectus and its descendant species, what do you think was? Or are you rejecting the idea that any one factor is the ‘most important’ at all, and if so, why?

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