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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« Super-Sizing the Brain | Main | Brain Evolution »



The Striedter Précis... is downloadable from here, too:

Brian Mihalic

It seems to me that one of the distinctive traits of homo sapiens - food preparation and preservation - is not fully appreciated in the story of evolution. If the brain gets larger when the species can find enough food, and that in turn offers new selective advantages (presumably including even better food sources) then it would make sense that new methods of food preparation and preservation could be entering into this feedback loop. Very simple cooking techniques could provide important new kinds and sources of nutrients. Do you have any thoughts on whether food technology is an under-appreciated factor in brain evolution? Or is it really nothing more than increased brain power begetting better hunting and gathering skills?
BLOGGER: I agree that food technology and food sharing is understudied and unappreciated. I think we really need to figure out why late Homo underwent a massive spurt in brain growth, and I bet the answer is more like something in this comment than in standard evolutionary account of competition for women.

Georg Striedter

Richard Wrangham has done some interesting work on the evolution and benefits of cooking. Here is a link to one page that introduces his work:
Of particular relevance to the discussion here is that Wrangham puts the origins of cooking pretty far back, about 2 mya.

Bruce Wilder


If a small group of late homo found itself living on, say, a lake island, and learned to fish, they might well have a sudden surplus of the appropriate protein and fatty acids in their diet.

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