No it didn’t and your out dated thoughts on our ancestors shows both your lack of understanding of modern archeology beyond “The Flintstones” cartoon show and your lack of understanding of what actually runs our brains.
Because of the “Expensive Tissue Hypothesis” cooking is one half of the puzzle as to how we grew larger brains. The hypothesis is fairly simple:
“the amount of calories an organism gets are limited, so for one body organ to grow, another must be compromised.”
Many organs can’t shrink like the heart or lungs because they need to be a specific size to pump enough and oxygenate enough blood. So evolution began shrinking our alimentary canal aka a fancy way to say our entire digestive system from the mouth down through the stomach and intestines to the anus and everything in between.
In comparison other apes like the chimpanzee for example have a large intestine that is 46% of the entire alimentary canal while us humans are around half that at about 25%. Easier to breakdown foods are easily handled by the small intestine but our large intestines do the majority of the heavy lifting of our digestion breaking down tough and complex plant tissues especially material like cellulose the main ingredient of plant foods. Cellulose plant materials are so difficult to break down that even herbivores like cows can’t break it down on their own and instead rely on colonies of gut bacteria that do it for them.
So the longer the large intestine the more food is broken down and absorbed, this is why cooking made our digestive system shorter than our relatives or pre-Homo Erectus ancestors. Cooking food breaks down the cellular walls of plants softening it so that a large portion of the work of digestion is already done before it hits our intestines.
Cooking also neutralizes toxic or indigestible substances in plants, for example in starch laden tubers. These tubers were and still are a concentrated source of carbohydrates and glucose which our brains and bodies run on so well it’s obvious that it’s the food that we evolved eating as we became human. Cooking unlocked and made available more calorie rich foods that were also easily found and eventually cultivated in an agrarian society.
At this point you or those you are arguing with may be shouting that “Meat is calorie rich too especially when cooked!” and you’d be absolutely correct but that in no way correlates to “Meat gave us big brains check mate vegans!!”. All that’s proven is that cooking originally used to eat tubers and other plants (as we previously went over) gave our ancestors the technology to safely eat flesh without the danger of brain eating parasites, the tough digestion our bodies can barely do etc. True carnivores and omnivores don’t have to worry about those things because their digestive systems are evolved to process carrion.
Giving humanity the ability to eat practicality anything using the technology of cooking allowed us to travel great distances without fear of losing food sources and so we ended up becoming more successful as hunter-gatherers than we could with our intended biology but this came with consequences we still experience today.
At this point the Pre-Vegan aka carnist you are arguing with will likely bring up primitive tribes that even today still exist in the world and they do hunt “game animals”. One example would be the “San of the Kalahari” or the Hadza people of the Serengeti. The Hadza are extremely skilled hunters that begin their training all through childhood and practice it all their lives becoming skilled beyond measure with spears, bows and arrows. Still they rarely obtain anything on their hunts so ancient human ancestors obviously had an even tougher and rarer time of obtaining a kill and the flesh consumption that came with it.
These highly skilled hunters derive over 70% of their nutrition from plants because they rarely succeed on their hunts but where do they find plant based foods out in the wild grasslands of Africa? They eat fruit or more commonly because they are available year round they dig up and cook tubers just like our ancestors. The dependability of tubers is what gave and continue to give us humans in survival situation the nutrition our brains and bodies need. The brain doesn’t run on the proteins or fats from flesh but on sugar aka glucose and cooking it releases the sugars from their cellular prisons.
“But what about Eskimos/Inuits huh? They live on 99% blubber and meat!! Ha! Gotcha vegan!”
Yes the Inuits do indeed eat a diet almost entirely flesh based due to their living environment having little vegetation or ability to grow crops. So where do Inuits get their glucose from to run their brains and bodies? Well our bodies have adapted to go into gluconeogenesis which turns fats and proteins into the glucose we must have. This comes at a great expense to our lives and bodies as we hinted at earlier though.
That pedestal the meat head is placing the Inuit diet onto as “proof” that vegans are wrong is about to come crashing down because a meat-heavy diet kills them too just like us modern humans or other herbivores that receive ailing health and death from flesh consumption.
Flesh contains L-Carnitine that causes the plaque build up in arteries humans and other herbivore/fruigivores experience from the digestion of flesh or secretions like dairy. This substance without exception blocks all of our arteries leading to poor health, heart attacks, strokes, and eventually death.
Neu5Gc is also only found in flesh and is a sugar that our immune system goes haywire and attacks which leads to cancer eventually.
“The Inuits don’t get much heart disease though vegan explain that!”
Yeah that’s because their harsh living conditions, isolation from society and therefore medicine gives them shorter lifespans than most of us so they don’t get to age enough to die of heart disease or stroke.
Even those Inuit who do have access to modern society that live much like the rest of the western world
The Inuits not getting much heart disease is a combination of some evolutionary adaptations and their harsh living conditions killing them before meat does. With modern technology
helping them cope with the harsh conditions the majority of Inuits still have shorter lifespans other Western people.
The survival of peoples like the Inuits really shows two things:
1. That we can survive on a terrible and evolutionarily incorrect diet so long as we live long enough to reproduce before we die far sooner than we should from that diet.
2. That cooking is the technology that as singlehandedly given us the ability to survive and even thrive in nearly any climate no matter how dangerous and unhealthy it is to our bodies.
Still not convinced? Take this study by primatologist Richard Wranham done in 1999 where his groundbreaking research into the evolution of our diet makes things very clear in hard numbers:
“He considered three diets: one of nuts, berries and raw tubers, the second of 60% cooked tubers, and the third of 60% meat. By calculating calorific values in the experiment, he found that the diet of 60% meat and 40% raw nuts, berries and tubers provides 20% more calories than a raw diet. Impressive? But a cooked vegan diet – one of 60% cooked tubers, and 40% raw plants – provides a whopping 43% more calories (Pennisi, 1999).”
So the nearly inedible when raw plants when cooked were more than twice as high in calories then an equivalent amount of flesh. Shhhhh don’t tell animal ag.
So in conclusion the whole “Meat is why be have bigger brains” argument is wrong because clearly plants like tubers rich in glucose (sugar) that our brains run and carbohydrates that our bodies thrive on are what allowed our brains to grow.
Without modern medicine our ancestors if they were ingesting large amounts of meat would have died early on from nutritional issues, parasites, and even heart disease or strokes before they could have reproduced.
It’s simple to squash an argument when you look at the facts and the fact is flesh is terrible for us and doesn’t even contain the glucose we need to run our brains.