And that's how I came up with my newest kickstarter campaign, Monkey Oven.
— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) June 3, 2015
From the NYTimes article:
… It’s not that the animals are ready to go head-to-head with Gordon Ramsay, but scientists from Harvard and Yale found that chimps have the patience and foresight to resist eating raw food and to place it in a device meant to appear, at least to the chimps, to cook it.
That is no small achievement. In a line that could easily apply to human beings, the researchers write, “Many primate species, including chimpanzees, have difficulty giving up food already in their possession and show limitations in their self-control when faced with food.”
But they found that chimps would give up a raw slice of sweet potato in the hand for the prospect of a cooked slice of sweet potato a bit later. That kind of foresight and self-control is something any cook who has eaten too much raw cookie dough can admire.
The research grew out of the idea that cooking itself may have driven changes in human evolution, a hypothesis put forth by Richard Wrangham, an anthropologist at Harvard and several colleagues about 15 years ago in an article in Current Anthropology, and more recently in his book, “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.”…
One obvious difficulty in creating an experiment was that chimps have not yet figured out how to use fire, and the scientists were wary of giving them access to real cooking devices. So the scientists hit on a method that, as they write in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, presents the chimps with “problems that emulate cooking.”
“We invented this magic cooking device,” Dr. Warneken explained in an interview: two plastic bowls that fit closely together with pre-cooked food hidden in the bottom tub.
When a chimpanzee placed a raw sweet potato slice into the device, a researcher shook it, then lifted the top tub out to offer the chimp an identical cooked slice of sweet potato.
It was known that chimps prefer cooked food, but it was an open question whether chimps had the patience to wait through the pretend “shake and bake” process. And, the researchers wanted to know if the animals could understand “that when something raw goes in there it comes out cooked,” said Dr. Warneken…
The chimps showed a number of indications that, given a real cooking opportunity, they had the ability to take advantage of it. They resisted eating raw food and put it in the device, waiting for cooked food. They would bring raw food from one side of a cage to the other in order to put it in the device. And they put different kinds of food in the device…
I hate to admit how much this sounds like me and my most reliable cooking tool, the microwave.
Apart from Planet of the Apes jokes, what’s on the agenda for the day?