Chimpanzees Would Cook Food

Felix Warneken, Alexandra G. Rosati

A new study reveals that Chimpanzees have the basic cognitive capacity to cook food, if they only would have found out about fire, there would be a lot of cooking going on in the jungle.

A new study about chimpanzees gets a lot of attention for a good reason. It shows that Chimps are really not that different from humans. Humans are the only species that cooks food, but the researchers Felix Warneken and Alexandra G. Rosati found out that Chimps would cook their food.

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), possess the domain-general cognitive skills needed to cook. Across nine studies, the researchers show that chimpanzees prefer cooked foods and comprehend the transformation of raw food that occurs when cooking, and generalize this causal understanding to new contexts.

Chimps are also willing to pay temporal costs to acquire cooked foods and are willing to actively give up possession of raw foods in order to transform them. They even can transport raw food as well as save their raw food in anticipation of future opportunities to cook.

The scientists in the research showed the Chimpanzees a simple oven. It is basically a bowl that after shaking produces a cooked slice of potato. As shown in the video that chimps fall for a little magic trick, but that is not the point. For them the shaking bowl represents an thing that makes potato taste better. 

Taken together the results of the study indicate that several of the fundamental psychological abilities necessary to engage in cooking /4/have been shared with the last common ancestor of apes and humans, predating the control of fire.

The details of the study titled “Cognitive capacities for cooking in chimpanzees” have been published in the Royal Society Proceedings B available here with more videos in the Figure & Data section of the paper.

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