36 – Cooking

120,000 years ago

Cooking our food doesn’t just make it taste better, but it actually makes foods easier to digest. By breaking down the cell walls of plants or altering the protein structures of meat, cooking allows the body to digest food more readily. Our earliest direct evidence of humans cooking food comes from Klasies River Cave in South Africa, where the leftover starches from cooking root vegetables were found in a firepit. This is the earliest direct sign that humans knowingly cooked food before eating it, though it is likely that the practice existed long before this date.

Image credit Shutterstock.


    Pleistocene2.58 million to 11,700 years ago

Environmental and Climate Changes

  • Earth’s climate remains relatively stable with alternating glacial and interglacial periods

Changing Species