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Cooking Stimulated Big Leap In Human Cognition

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the yet-another-preprocessor dept.

Biotech 473

Hugh Pickens writes "For a long time, humans were pretty dumb, doing little but make 'the same very boring stone tools for almost 2 million years,' says Philipp Khaitovich of the Partner Institute for Computational Biology in Shanghai. Then, 150,000 years ago, our big brains suddenly got smart. We started innovating. We tried different materials. We started creating art and maybe even religion. To understand what caused the cognitive spurt, researchers examined chemical brain processes known to have changed in the past 200,000 years. Comparing apes and humans, they found the most robust differences were for processes involved in energy metabolism. The finding suggests that increased access to calories spurred our cognitive advances, although definitive claims of causation are premature. In most animals, the gut needs a lot of energy to grind out nourishment from food sources. But cooking, by breaking down fibers and making nutrients more readily available, is a way of processing food outside the body. Eating (mostly) cooked meals would have lessened the energy needs of our digestion systems, thereby freeing up calories for our brains. Today, humans have relatively small digestive systems and allocate around 20% of their total energy to the brain, compared to approximately 13% for non-human primates and 2-8% for other vertebrates. While other theories for the brain's cognitive spurt have not been ruled out, the finding sheds light on what made us, as Khaitovich put it, 'so strange compared to other animals.'"

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AUGGGHHH (5, Funny)

nawcom (941663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575845)

We man got smarts by cooking meats you vegan bitches!!! UGH-UGH-UGH-UGH-UGH (think Home Improvement)

Re:AUGGGHHH (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575879)

Screw the gristle stuff. It's Twinkies.

All the way down. Now those are little calorie bombs. Feed the brain!

Re:AUGGGHHH (2, Funny)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576443)

Hmm... Does this mean fat people are smarter?

(I'm pretty skinny so, well, I am guessing that is going to be my new excuse for doing stupid things.)

Re:AUGGGHHH (2, Insightful)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576451)

It helps that we cooked veggies too.

I mean, what is a burger without pickles, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, and bread?

Re:AUGGGHHH (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576537)

mushrooms are apt for some,

Re:AUGGGHHH (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576555)

WTF! weirdness:

I was going to do a retarded apt/yum package method but i couldn't think of it properly... weird things happened on the submit/preview/edit and I ended up with a load of junk.

What I really wanted to say was:
Mushrooms are yuk..

The apt/yum thing is saying mushrooms are apt for some (meaning not yum).

Re:AUGGGHHH (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576491)

Perhaps women started cooking when they realized that good cooking could attract really smart hunter-gatherer men. The smart hunter-gatherers would give the cooking-women (a) plenty of food and (b) smart babies.

Re:AUGGGHHH (5, Funny)

Screaming Cactus (1230848) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576629)

Yeah that's exactly what women look for in a man: intelligence.

So... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575853)

... if we feed animals with cooked food they will start to get intelligent?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575907)

No, no. Didn't you read the summary?

"Our big brains suddenly got smart."

Animals have small brains, so they can't suddenly get smart.

Re:So... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575981)

"Our big brains suddenly got smart. We started creating art and maybe even religion."

Religion? But I thought you said we got smart [youtube.com] .

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576087)

Like sperm whales and elephants? those seem like huge brains to me, maybe we should give cooked food to whales and elephants.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575921)

If you give them a couple million years to mutate, yes. Provided my step-mother isn't the one who cooks the animals meals of course, in which case they'd devolve faster than you can say "that steak is raw!".

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575997)

But then they will create their own god and the resulting holy war will destroy us all. Because there is not nearly as much remorse in killing a different species. I don't think we'd be around today if another intelligent species had developed alongside us...one would have most certainly destroyed the other or both.

I propose we hold off on feeding cooked meals to other species...

Re:So... (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576447)

No, you're confusing whales and elephants with the otters....those damned, super-intelligent otters!

Re:So... (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576247)

You would also need selective pressure to bring out the more intelligent individuals for gene selection.

The cooking is a prerequisite for the cause to be able to work but it isn't the causal force itself.

Re:So... (4, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576323)

Only if a large stone obelisk moves into the neighborhood at the same time...

well.... (4, Funny)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575857)

still no explanation for Steak-umms

Re:well.... (3, Funny)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576205)

Yet it does explain the entire "raw" food movement

Re:well.... (1)

sectionboy (930605) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576319)

How do you like your steak be cooked, sir? Smart or dumb ?

Re:well.... (1)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576335)

screaming? just kidding.

I can't cook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575861)

I can't cook you insensitive prick!

That explains it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575881)

That explains why my wife is both stupid and a rotten cook. I married her for the good bud and b.j.s Now that she has cut me off I see the truth.

Re:That explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576109)

Been eating your wife's cooking, I see.

Re:That explains it (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576467)

Eh? You married my ex?

My Obsession (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575893)

So I can use this to smack down people for making fun of my obsession with cooking, some sort of complicated excuse for my desire to purchase a smoker/kegging system/jet powered coffee roaster?

Re:My Obsession (2, Funny)

SpicyLemon (803639) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576391)

Does that mean I can belittle people for making fun of my obsession with eating other people's cooking?

1) I'm fat.
2) I eat buffets all the time.
3) Buffets contain mostly cooked food.
4) Eating cooked food makes you smarter.
Therefore, I'm smarter than you.

And if that doesn't work, how about this.

I'm kind of smart. I'm also fat from eating cooked foods. If I marry a fat woman that's good at cooking food and we have kids. That kid should be a little smarter than me. Then we can make my kid fat by feeding him/her lots of cooked foods. As long as he/she doesn't marry a twig, my grandchildren will be brilliant!!!

I have just justified my overeating.

Thank you again /.

Suddenly... (3, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575895)

Then, 150,000 years ago, our big brains suddenly got smart.

I'm betting there's a giant black obelisk [wikipedia.org] involved ... (cue weird music)

Re:Suddenly... (5, Informative)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575989)

I'm betting there's a giant black monolith [wikipedia.org] involved ... (cue Richard Strauss [wikipedia.org] music)

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Suddenly... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576457)

or... since he was describing weird music, I suspect he may mean György Ligeti's Requiem.

Strauss isn't that weird, though it was his piece used at the monolith moment in the movie.

Re:Suddenly... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576581)

Correct enough, though *in real life*, monoliths [wikipedia.org] are natural geological features, while obelisks [wikipedia.org] are artificial (alien/man-made) features. The one in 2001 is an oddity as it's not shaped like an obelisk, but is also clearly not a natural object. In the context of the story, I stand corrected and am off to re-read the book ... :-)

Re:Suddenly... (1)

Casai (1011763) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576033)

Yeah, which inspired us to start stabbing pigs and eating meat instead of just plants...which led to more available calories to feed our growing brains. See, it's all logically consistent.

Humans were carnivores at the beginning (2, Interesting)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576265)

to start stabbing pigs and eating meat

Humans didn't START eating meat. They always were.

instead of just plants

There was never a stage in human evolution which involved 100% herbivorous diet.

Humans at first only ate meat. Very soon, they started eating plants too. And much lately, some of them disliked meat and became vegetarians.

Re:Humans were carnivores at the beginning (2, Interesting)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576517)

Our teeth are strangely structured if we first ate only meat. I suspect we were omnivores from the start with some populations sticking to fruit, others to nuts, maybe even shellfish or fish or whatever was handy.

That is the only way to explain how and why we became so travelled... we weren't stuck to only one kind of food.

Re:Humans were carnivores at the beginning (1)

Casai (1011763) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576545)

I was referring to the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, which is what the OP was referring to with the black obelisk. Please read the first paragraph of the plot summary here [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Suddenly... (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576481)

So....bacon makes you a genius! Awesome!

TV Science (2, Insightful)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575899)

This just in: slashdot editors watch the history channel for their science news.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575901)

McDonalds make us smart!

If that was true.... (4, Funny)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575903)

then America would be choke full of obese geniuses.

Re:If that was true.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575963)

It must be true. 'Merkins have been pulling in over 50% of the science Nobel prizes for the last 50 years. But how the hell the fatasses continue winning the most Olympic medals is beyond me. Perhaps is has something to do with gravitational attraction.

Re:If that was true.... (2, Funny)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575983)

No, the theory could still be true - Americans are just over-eating fake food, forcing their teeny digestive systems to divert energy from the brain, thus reversing the cognitive jump.

Re:If that was true.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576131)

Most of the issues with the refined foods and foods making intense use of HFCS and such is that the _energy_ specifically is too easily available.

I wonder if the lack of proper balanced vitamins is making a difference. I never really considered that before with the decline of america's intellectual community.

Re:If that was true.... (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575987)

then America would be choke full of obese geniuses.

I'm from South America, you insensitive clod!

Re:If that was true.... (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576041)

I'm from South America, you insensitive clod!

Aren't you the guys who chew raw coca leaves all day long? hmmm...

Re:If that was true.... (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576313)

The Article said cooking, not eating.

Re:If that was true.... (1)

SpicyLemon (803639) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576427)

then America would be choke full of obese geniuses.

Not yet. We're only now starting to really get fat. Just wait a few generations and we'll be golden!

Re:If that was true.... (3, Funny)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576527)

No, the geniuses are the ones who aren't obese. They've figured out how to channel 30% of their energy into their brains (and in the process, not becoming fat).

Hah! I knew it. (2, Funny)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575923)

People look at me funny when I ask for my steak well done.

Neanderthal dopes!

Re:Hah! I knew it. (4, Insightful)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576401)

Of course they do. You're asking the person to cook all the taste and texture out of a perfectly good cut of meat.

An interesting experiment (0, Redundant)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575929)

So, would that imply that if we fed animals, regularly for a couple of generations, cooked food, they would get smarter? Any slashdot Biologists, feel free to chime in here.

Re:An interesting experiment (2, Funny)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575971)

'A couple of generations', what is this, instant-evolution? Close cousine of instant-ramen?

Re:An interesting experiment (4, Interesting)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576035)

how many generations have pigs been slopped from table scraps?

do domesticated pigs have higher IQs than wild boars?

Re:An interesting experiment (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576217)

They must. After all, domesticated pigs often co-star on MythBusters and wild boars are almost never on TV shows.

Re:An interesting experiment (2, Insightful)

Hexedian (626557) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576049)

I am not a biologist, but I do know that traits acquired by the parents, such as the presumed increased intelligence due to cooked food (Which I don't think would actually happen, but who knows?), would not be passed to their children. You could try to sort animals by liking to cooked food, hoping to get the ones with the 'best' genes, but even that would be dubious science at best.

Re:An interesting experiment (1)

bob_herrick (784633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576271)

I am guessing something like this:

Cooked food --> greater expression of 'intelligence'

a) --> more ability to compete amongst cousins --> natural selection

b) the selection is partially genetic and partially memetic --> more natural selection

Start cooking for the apes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24575933)

So, if we starting feeding ape cooked food, we could have planet of the apes soon!!! alright!!

Evolve - eat pre-processed food (3, Funny)

xzvf (924443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575947)

If we could get all our food preprocessed (already chewed with the waste removed) we could send more resources to the brain and less to the digestive system. We have the technology.

Re:Evolve - eat pre-processed food (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576437)

I don't think calorie intake is the limiting factor on brain growth in homo sapiens - at least not in the western world. Witness the obesity epidemic.

Re:Evolve - eat pre-processed food (1)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576465)

On the other hand, maybe growing a bigger brain will become an evolutionary advantage because it consumes more energy, therefore reducing the risk of lethal fatness. We may see a few hundred generations after obesity start significantly culling individuals before the reproductive age.

Re:Evolve - eat pre-processed food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576497)


If we could get all our food preprocessed (already chewed with the waste removed) we could send more resources to the brain and less to the digestive system. We have the technology.

gogurt

Enabler, not cause. (3, Interesting)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24575953)

Sounds to me like cooking provided an opportunity to grow a bigger brain, but I don't think it explains the need. Something else in the environment made having a bigger brain increase the odds of reproduction, and cooking made it easier to provide the nutrition needed for that brain.

In any case, I don't see how we're "so strange compared to other animals". Seems to me we're remarkably similar, I can't think of any fundamental differences between us and other animals that are more than a matter of degree. Well, I don't know of any animal religions.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (1)

Chris Walker (135667) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576079)

You were just using it. It's called written language. Rather important difference.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576107)

There is no animal language.
There is no animal art.
There is no animal science.
There is no animal law.
There is no animal culture.
There is no animal literature.
There is no animal economics.

Humans are self-analytical, creative, and have the ability for abstract communication. Animals don't have these things in any degree at all.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576189)

Humans have the capacity for meme evolution.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (5, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576379)

There is animal language, art, culture, and economics. Animals aren't self-analytical, but they are minimally creative and have abstract communication.

Primates and parrots have been taught vocabularies equivalent to preschoolers. They recognize abstractions such as number and color. They not only make tools, but different populations make different kinds of tools. They pass this knowledge on to their offspring, indicating the existence of culture. Some animals have rudimentary economics and can recognize fair and unfair trades. And even birds create art, though if you are speaking of representational art, the list is much smaller.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (5, Informative)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576409)

On animal language, I think the jury's still out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_language [wikipedia.org]

Art? Depends on your definition. Whale songs aren't understood, dolphins (and other animals) certainly seem to play and generally "do stuff" just for the hell of it. We have a hard time defining human art these days, I'd reserve judgement on non-humans...

Science? True, I'm not aware of any systematic attempts to understand the world building on the experiences of others. I'm not sure I'd call it a fundamental trait, though. It's certainly important to mankind as we know it, but science in my opinion is enabled by too many more fundamental abilities of the human mind to be considered fundamental itself.

Law? There are certainly hierarchies and rules in animal societies. Nothing written down, and no trials as far as I know. Morals, concepts of right and wrong? Hard to say. That requires empathy, primates might exhibit something like a sense of moral.

Culture? What do you mean by culture? I addressed the art part of culture above, that leaves customs specific to a society of animals. I don't think you can just plain say there are no different cultures in animal societies.

No literature? True, no argument.I Don't think it's fundamental in the sense I meant, though. It's a function enabled by a higher degree of intelligence.

Economics... Well, hard to say again. Economics as the systematic study of transactions and their effects on society? No, you won't find that. Understanding of profit versus risk? Certainly on some level that's there. Here's a New Scientist article on macaque monkeys paying for sex: http://www.newscientist.com/channel/sex/mg19726374.100-macaque-monkeys-pay-for-sex.html [newscientist.com]

As for self-analytical, any being that learns from experience is in a sense self-analytical.

Creative? Every species has at some point learned new tricks. Monkeys use sticks to fish for insects - I don't think that's a trait hard wired into their brain. Once upon a time, a monkey got creative and learned the trick, then probably a portion of the other members of the species were smart enough to learn the trick, having seen it, or maybe only that one monkey was clever enough, but by learning a good new trick, gained a clear reproductive edge over the others, and some of it's offspring were sufficiently smart to either learn the trick by seeing it performed, or by figuring it out themselves. And so on. In any case, at some point, a monkey got creative.

Abstract communication? Maybe, frankly I'm not fully sure what you even mean by that. My point is, people have historically been very keen on making these blanket statements on just how we fundamentally are different from the rest of the animals (or, often, "the animals"), and the claims tend to not hold up to scrutiny. The human mind is a remarkably complex thing, but it is born of the nervous system, which is a product of evolution. It's tempting to think of some kind of magic point of complexity or whatever you wish to think creates consciousness where a mind turns from animal to human, but I don't think we'll find one. Consciousness is not something you either have or don't, there are degrees. Sometimes we're not conscious of our actions, like when driving a car down a long, straight road. It's not inconceivable that a being could be more conscious than a human being, so I don't think it's inconceivable that a being could be less so, and still be conscious. It's a matter of degree.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576603)

So by "degrees" you mean "orders of magnitude."

Re:Enabler, not cause. (1)

SpicyLemon (803639) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576469)

There is no animal art.

I've seen an elephant painting [youtube.com] . I've even seen a painting of an elephant painted by an elephant. I don't think it was a self portrait though.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576487)

language - wrong
culture - wrong
economics - wrong

Almost half wrong. You've been neglecting boning up on your abstract communication.

"any degree at all"

Worst error.

Re:Enabler, not cause. (4, Interesting)

VoidEngineer (633446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576567)

Something else in the environment? How about *everything* else in the environment. Or, more simply, the environment itself.

This is 150,000 years ago. These people had no electricity, no medicine, no civilization... basically, they had nothing. Average life expectancy was something around 30 years, if that. Break a leg, you're dead. Get the flu, good chance you're dead. Run into a saber tooth tiger, you're definitely dead. At this point of history that they're talking about, humans were *not* at the top of the food chain, there was no civilization where a person could seek shelter, there were no medications, diet was iffy. And there were plenty of nasty animals running around ready to eat a person!

Something else in the environment? I don't think you appreciate just how difficult it is to live off the land and survive out in the wilderness. Particularly when you're not at the top of the food chain.

so does eating sushi. (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576003)

make one less smart?

or does aquatic life have an advantage in intellect over land based animals?

Re:so does eating sushi. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576071)

They do cook the rice.

Now deep frying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576015)

Will spark another quantum leap in human development...

Cooking required for living in cold climates (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576025)

There was this article on the Big Foot myth on TV the other day and a good point was made about how primates with big brains generally live in warm climates because of the energy cost of their brain. The idea is that Big Foot can't live in North America the way that Gorillas live in Africa. There just isn't enough food.

So when humans moved into the colder parts of Europe they would have needed ways to gather enough food to avoid starvation. Perhaps cooking made that easier by broadening their diet.

Animals and cooked food (0, Redundant)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576053)

Let's start feeding test animals cooked meat to see if they evolve!

Juice me up! (3, Funny)

Goalie_Ca (584234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576061)

So are fat people considered over-clockers?

Wait, what? (5, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576069)

Something seems out of order here...

1. Sit on duff for 2 million years being too stupid to invent anything
2. ???
3. Invent cooking
4. Get smart enough to invent things, like cooking
5. Profit!

I've heard homeless men coming up with more logical explanations than this.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576273)

It must be in those secret Hobo Spices!

Re:Wait, what? (2, Interesting)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576325)

well, i suppose that's why they're so tentative and saying it is not yet linked as causation. What they're most likely referring to is the possibility of humans accidentally cooking food, realizing it was tastier/giving them more energy, and THEN moving on to deliberately invent things.

Seems like a fair shot in the dark, but it's not entirely without basis. Invention isn't always a proactive process, sometimes things just happen and critters decide they prefer it that way.

yummmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576077)

Delicious brains.....

brians......

And Prometheus said... (3, Funny)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576091)

Fire. Is there ANYTHING it can't do?

Re:And Prometheus said... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576533)

Fire. Is there ANYTHING it can't do?

Your mother.

Wait... (1)

st33med (1318589) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576119)

Then if animals ate more, then black bears can become smarter at stalking us???? Oh man, we need to eat more and become smarter to outsmart those black bears. ~

However, why are we Americans so overweight (excluding me) and still kinda... not smart.... ?

Maybe a few more centuries of heart attacks from Mickey D's and McMissle cases and then we will become smarter :\

Re:Wait... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576441)

Survival of the fittest. The same heart attacks that take out Mickey Ds customers also lop the bottom off the IQ bell curve.

The start of the Singularity... (5, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576123)

The singularity model (some say fantasy, some say theory, call it what you will) is basically that once technology can be used to improve intelligence you get a feedback loop that leads to a society and environment that is literally incomprehensible to the people on the low side of the singularity. This is usually proposed in terms of *designing* brains that are smarter than the ones that designed them, but there's no reason to rule out less fantastic advances as part of the same process.

I think this qualifies as a singularity, from the point of view of the pre-humans.

Re:The start of the Singularity... (1)

ignoramus (544216) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576393)

Not sure it would qualify as "a singularity"...

I gather the idea is that the singularity is the point at which the rate of change is so great that it's almost "vertical", and I'm not sure this would look that way even to proto-humans.

Not every point along the exponential curve is deemed a singularity, it's just part of the process of accelerating returns (use advance X as a stepping stone to create advance Y, and do so in less time than it took you to get to X. Lather, rinse, repeat. faster and faster).

Re:The start of the Singularity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576623)

The singularity is always near [veneermagazine.com] .

Obligatory Political Joke (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576165)

"For a long time, humans were pretty dumb,"

Like Democrats and Republicans?

A better explanation (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576327)

A much better explanation comes from Dr. Temple Grandin in one of her books: Animals in Translation. She posits that humans and dogs co-evolved, allowing humans to develop their cognitive side at the expense of their sense (smell, hearing).

A lot more convincing argument than cooking, imho.

The chicken and the egg (1)

RawsonDR (1029682) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576345)

We started creating art and maybe even religion.

What?! It wasn't the other way around??

McMammut-balls (1)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576349)

I'm lovin' it.

/. Sponsored by McDonalds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576361)

Mine's a Big MAC.

So, let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576399)

Intelligence started as a pilot for the food network?

so... (0)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576423)

the irony is that now cooking is actually making us dumber again -- well fast food, high fructose corn syrup, and brewing specifically.

No. Sorry. I do NOT believe a word of this wildly-speculative pseudoscience. How can it be that people get grants for this kind of research?

Perceive things (2, Interesting)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576435)

One of my English profs said "Everything is representation." and he's right in a very literal as well as metaphorical sense.

Everything is programmed into us except our reaction to the first stimulus we receive.

The more similar the programming the more identical we are... Travelling to different cities around the world I found that people had similar ways of viewing things.

It's the interaction between different viewpoints that creates the tension that produces innovation.

A brilliant mind sees things more clearly, a genius sees things differently.

Taking a step back and asking what you're really trying to accomplish can make all the difference, that's the great thing about programming... we solve a problem forever the better you become the more global your solution...

"God sees the grain of sand in the beach and also the world in a grain of sand."

using Fire perhaps (1)

ez151 (835695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576509)

Yeah it was also called mastering fire for the first time.... correlation, causation, etc.?

Jeez, scientists see more and more like marketeers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24576551)

This is just some dude that wants to get his name somewhere by having a shot at 'the missing link'
Well my gut feeling tells me he missed it by a long shot.Actually cooking food is what makes us ill an weak.
Eat raw local vegetables and you'll feel fit and plenty of energy, well it's what it does to me.
Do you really think our digestive system was designed to eat cooked, fried or worse: microwaved food?
Eat living things and you'll feel lively, cooking things just gets you plenty of shortages and chronically depressed.
Just my 2cents out of personal experience

Mr. Darwin approves (1, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576613)

"For a long time, humans were pretty dumb, doing little but make 'the same very boring stone tools for almost 2 million years,'

Yeah, and life itself was pretty dumb for 3 billion years, floating around in oceans being lazy and photosynthesizing for food. Until about 1 billion years ago, one of them said, "screw this, I'm going multi-cellular so I can _earn_ my food."

This is not news, this is evolution. Some species was simply bound to evolve advanced mental capcity at some point.

(Though you wouldn't know it from watching American TV.)

Raw foods? (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#24576625)

So those raw food guys really are idiots like I've suspected all along?

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