Chimps Can't Cook, But Maybe They'd Like To
New research shows that our closest evolutionary relatives have all of the cognitive capacities required for cooking—except an understanding of how to control fire.
We’re too sophisticated nowadays to laugh at chimps riding tricycles or smoking pipes, right? Well, maybe not entirely, judging by the three million people who've watched a chimp riding a Segway scooter.
The humanlike antics are hilarious because chimps seem so uncannily like us, yet so different. But it keeps getting harder to say exactly how they’re different. Among many, many other chimp skills, primatologists have learned that our closest evolutionary cousins fashion spears to hunt for prey, trade food for sex, play with dolls and don’t take kindly to drones invading their space.
The latest discovery: Chimps have all the cognitive abilities necessary for the uniquely human behavior of cooking. They don’t do it