This Post is on Fire

Saturday posts are going to be about music, and I hope to draw attention to some great artists, particularly independent Canadian artists. The artist that I am featuring today is Pat LePoidevin, Pat has a great voice, and uses a loop pedal to create some really amazing songs, and is definitely worth checking out live if you ever get the chance. He played a show in Guelph a couple of years ago, and at one point he started a song, then realized he left a guitar in his car, so he kept the loop going, and ran out to his car and got it and was back to finish the song like nothing had happened. It was really keen. One of my favorite songs of his is Fire. One lyric in the song that stands out for me is “Fire, teach us both how to dance in the forest”. It really reminds me of the importance fire has played in shaping human history. While it is not really known when early hominds began controlling fire, estimates range around the 1.4 million years ago mark, this achievement likely coincides with the emergence of modern Homo sapiens. The control of fire gave early hominds many advantages that would ultimately shape human evolution. Keeping a fire at a campsite would keep predators at bay, allow for the cooking of food, and even create a community, which may have been the beginnings of a society. This whole notion is wonderfully depicted/parodied in the short video Tadufeu.

Screen grab from the video "Tadufeu", while it starts off fun and light, it take a turn for the morid at the end.

Cooking food not only makes it easier to chew and digest, it also allows for more energy to be released for use in the body. This increase in available energy has been suggested as the reason why our brains have grown to their relatively large size compared to our ancestor australopithecines. Cooking food may also be responsible for our increasing waistlines. A study by Rachel Carmody from the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences examined the role of cooking on foods’ caloric content. She found that cooking food boosts the amount of energy your body can get from it compared to raw food. This has implications for nutrition labels, which list the same number of calories for ingredients whether they are raw or cooked. So just as fire and cooking food led our ancestors to energetically “trade guts for brains”, we are now in the process of trading back for our guts. Just some food for thought (sorry I couldn’t help it).

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