Live Chat: Did Cooking Lead to Bigger Brains?

Ann is a contributing correspondent for Science

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Today's Topic

Humans have more brain neurons than any other primate—but these extra neurons come at a price. Our brains consume 20% of our body's energy when resting, compared with 9% in other primates. Scientists have suggested that cooking may have helped humans get that extra energy while spending less time foraging—because cooking effectively predigests food, making it easier for our guts to absorb calories. Now, a new study supports this idea, finding that raw food alone wouldn't have allowed our ancestors' brains to grow: They would have had to spend more than 9 hours a day eating to get enough energy.

Join us for a live chat at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, 8 November, on this page to discuss how cooked food might relate to bigger brains. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts. The full text of the chat will be archived on this page.

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Suzana Herculano-Houzel


Richard Wrangham

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Posted in Evolution