Harvard primatologist Richard Wrangham maintains that eating cooked foods, and especially cooked meat, allowed our earliest ancestors to take an evolutionary path away from that of other primates.

Wranham has written a book titled Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, outlining his research-based theories that when early australopithecines began eating meat around 2.5 million years ago, they underwent biological changes, including developing a larger brain. Later adoption of cooking meat and other foods, probably about 1.9 million years ago, prompted further evolution eventually leading to modern Homo sapiens.

Wranham discussed his theories, their and implications for human nutrition, on National Public Radio’s Science Friday program last week. To listen, or read the transcript, click here.