The Evolution Of Cooking: Studying Chimpanzee Cognition

TUE, JUL 21, 2015 (41:06)

Cooking is a universal human practice, and a complex behavior that involves multiple cognitive skills—such as patience, self-control, and causal reasoning. But the evolutionary origins of cooking are unclear. Examining chimpanzees’ cognitive skills can illuminate the emergence of this uniquely human behavior. Harvard researchers Alexandra Rosati and Felix Warneken will present new insights from a recent set of studies in which they found that chimpanzees possess many of the necessary skills for cooking, suggesting that cooking behaviors emerged soon after the control of fire in human evolution.

+ BIO: Felix Warneken

Warneken’s research explores the origins of social cognition, with a focus on the cognitive and motivational bases of cooperation. In particular, his research is concerned with the processes which constitute early forms of cooperation such as altruistic helping and collaboration, identifying the factors which influence its development throughout childhood, and exploring its origins in human evolution.

+ BIO: Alexandra Rosati

Alexandra Rosati will join the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Fall term 2015. Her research explores the evolutionary origins of the human mind. She compares how humans and other primates think about the world in order to understand what cognitive capacities are unique to humans, as well as how these capacities emerged.

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