Tags: chimps | cooking | study | food

Chimps Cooking? Probably Not, but They Prefer Their Food That Way

By    |   Thursday, 04 June 2015 03:31 PM

Chimps prefer their food cooked, and they are more than willing to learn to do it themselves, a new study has found.

While chimps won’t be walking into the kitchen and turning on the oven any time soon, a Harvard and Yale study, published recently in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” journal, found that chimpanzees would sit and wait while their food “cooked” because they prefer it that way.

Study co-authors Felix Warneken, of Harvard University, and Alexandra Rosati, of Yale University, determined after a series of experiments that chimps showed “the ability to understand the transformation of raw food into cooked food, and even the ability to save and transport food over distance for the purposes of cooking,” the Harvard Gazette reported.

“The findings suggest that those abilities emerged early in human evolution, and that aside from control of fire, chimps may possess all of the requisite cognitive skills to engage in cooking,” the Gazette said.

“It is an important question when cooking emerged in human evolution,” Warneken told the Gazette.

Out of several experiments, one stood out as revealing the capacity chimps have for cooking.

“We wondered if they might be able to hold onto the reward and actively choose to put it in the cooking device,” Warneken told the Gazette. “That’s really tough because usually when chimps have food, they eat it.”

“I thought there was no way they were going to do this,” Rosati added. “There is quite a lot of research that says animals have problems with self-control when it comes to possessing food, but we were leaving the sanctuary in a few days so we decided to try it.”

The researchers were surprised that a number of chimps given raw potato took it to the cooking device and waited to receive a cooked version of the potato.

Warneken told BrainDecoder that controlling fire and trusting other chimpanzees not to steal their food while it was cooking were two issues that likely have kept chimps from cooking.

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Chimps prefer their food cooked, and they are more than willing to learn to do it themselves, a new study has found.
chimps, cooking, study, food
Thursday, 04 June 2015 03:31 PM
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