Chimpanzees have always amazed the science world with their mental skills and with the similarity between them and humans.
New research shows that these animals actually prefer cooked food and are able to restrain from eating vegetables if they might have the opportunity to cook them.
This information is very useful because it suggests our ancestors might have started to prefer cooked food earlier than thought, which might change the historical data regarding transitions in human evolution.
“The logic is that if we see something in chimpanzees’ behaviour, our common ancestor may have possessed these traits as well. If our closest evolutionary relative possesses these skills, it suggests that once early humans were able to use and control fire they could also use it for cooking,” said co-author of the study Felix Warneken, who works as a psychologist at Harvard University.
In order to reach such conclusions, the researchers gave chimpanzees at the Jane Goodall Institute from the Democratic Republic of Congo a chance to prove their skills using a plastic cooking tool. Thus, the chimpanzees were given the possibility to chose between two containers – one had a false bottom that “produced” cooked sweet potato and the other one did not.
Once the animals learnt that one of the recipients turns the raw potato into a cooked one, they would almost always choose to put the potatoes in the recipient that produced the baked version of the vegetables.
Moreover, they were willing to wait and they understood that the recipient was for food only, as they refused to put pieces of wood in it.
This piece of news could prove that cooked food led to an increased pace of human evolution, mainly due to the fact that cooked food brings a larger amount of calories in less time spent on chewing. Moreover, it is easier to digest and it might have prompted the emergence of larger brains in australopithecines, our ancestors dating back 2 million years ago.
Up until now, the researchers found evidence that fire had been used 1 million years ago, but it seems this timeline is not necessarily correct. Maybe in the information will encourage them to search for evidence to support the new theory.
Image Source: samaa