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A new study of chimps may suggest our love of cooking has deeper roots than we ever thought.

New research shows that chimps prefer cooked food. Yes, that's actually a big deal — here's why.

People LOVE to cook. A lot.

Like, a lot a lot.


"NOTHING makes me happier than watching my BF flip veggies. Except maybe this polo shirt." All images via Thinkstock.

No, but really. We love to cook so much that we'll spend money to watch other people cook.

"Iron Chef." "Chopped." "Cupcake Wars." "Hell's Kitchen." A bajillion other shows.

Maybe right now you're thinking, "OMG that is soooo true! Cooking is my favorite thing ever!" Or maybe you're more along the lines of, "What no no no get that thing away from me."

"Wow WTF are we even all looking at?" "Just. Keep. Smiling."

But despite your personal feelings (and abilities), you've gotta admit it: Cooking is a huge part of human culture.

So when did our love affair with cooking actually start?

There's some debate among experts as to when humans first started using fire for cooking. But a new study of chimpanzees may suggest that this development came a bit sooner than we'd previously thought — like, maybe a million years sooner.

As reported by The New York Times, Harvard and Yale scientists have been researching whether or not chimps have the necessary cognitive skill to cook.

"Should I make pasta? Or just order pizza???"

Turns out they do.

Not only do chimps prefer the taste of cooked food, they also have the patience and forethought required to forgo raw food.

In a series of experiments, researchers found that not only do chimps prefer the taste of cooked food, they also have the patience and forethought required to forgo raw food to allow someone to cook it for them.

Here's what the scientists did.

They presented the chimps with a slice of raw potato. The chimps would place the potato into the "cooking device" (which was actually just hiding a piece of cooked potato), and the scientists would "cook" it and return the piece of cooked potato to the chimps to eat.

Step 1: Put raw potato in cooking device.

All GIFs from Harvard University via The New York Times.

Step 2: Scientist cooks the potato for you. (Or really just unveils a hidden cooked potato.)

Step 3: Eat delicious cooked potato.

Turns out, the chimp study may tell us quite a bit about our own cooking history.

The fact that chimps could maybe cook — if they had the ability to manage fire — could be a sign that our human ancestors were developing the cognitive ability to cook quite a while before we previously thought they were.

See, experts of human origin believe that the big shift in human brain capacity came when we started using tools about 2.6 million to 3.3 million years ago. More nutrients, more energy, bigger brains.

"TBH I would so much rather be eating cooked banana rn."

But some scientists, including British primatologist Richard Wrangham, believe that we also started cooking shortly after that and that cooking food was actually a bigger deal for our development. Cooked food is advantageous because it's softer (which means less time chewing and smaller teeth) and gives us more energy (which means longer lives, more babies, more travel, and bigger brains).

Cooked food is advantageous because it's softer and gives us more energy.

The problem with Wrangham's theory has been that scientists simply haven't yet found physical evidence to support it. The earliest evidence of using fire for cooking dates back only about 1 million years, long after the use of tools began.

But that's part of why the chimpanzee study is so awesome: It's a mark in favor of Wrangham's theory. It shows that early humans, who would've been cognitively similar to modern-day chimps, just might have had the skills to start cooking many years (like, maybe over a million years) sooner than we thought.

Pretty darn cool, right?

So it's really no wonder cooking has become such a huge part of our culture — we've been doing it for at least 1 million years.

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Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

(Seriously, please don't try this at home.)

The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.