Crazy Anthropologist Links Food, Sex

Can you believe this guy? Check it out:

The French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss once proposed that humanity began with cooking. [a Twin Cities anthropologist] says love may have begun with cooking, as well.

The earliest human ancestors, some kind of chimp-like apes, were living off raw plant foods and probably doing a bit of hunting like chimpanzees do now.

And then, somebody discovers the ability to control fire. Everybody argues about when this happened. We’re saying it happened about 2 million years ago. Suddenly, all this food that was previously poisonous or indigestible becomes edible. We’re talking about grass seeds, like wheat. And tubers. The amount of energy available to these early human ancestors goes up a huge amount. So, they get bigger. At the same time, their jaws get smaller, which is supported by the fossil record.

and so on and so forth, bla bla bla. Read it here.


  1. #1 laurisa
    February 13, 2008

    haven’t I read this before somewhere??? I didn’t realize it was “alternative.” happy birthday to the mz.

  2. #2 RyanG
    February 13, 2008

    I was under the impression that sexual dimorphism in chimpanzees and bonobos is minimal – less than in early or modern humans. Has google lead me astray?

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    RyanG: As usual, the situation is complex . Chimpanzee sexual dimorphism is definitely not minimal. Sexual dimorphism in the Australopith species for which there are plenty of sample, barring any revision in taxonomy, have higher sexual dimorphism than chimps. Modern humans have relatively low sexual diomrophism, less than either the australopiths or chimps. Putting Dmanisi aside (that site is not sorted out) it looks like Homo erectus has relatively low sexual dimorphism.

    Some populations of archaic H. sapiens (like Neanderthals) may have relatively high sexual dimorphism.

  4. #4 agnostic
    February 13, 2008

    The title says “crazy anthropologist,” while the article says “French anthropologist,” implying that “French” = “crazy.” That’s racist.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    Agnostic: You have not read the story carefully. This is not about a French anthropologist. Just a crazy one. You need to visit the original piece.