Anthropologists believe that when our ancestors started cooking food, we unlocked more calories, leading to bigger brains. And from there, the internet. The logic goes that gathering together to make meals led to speaking and planning, which in turn helped us create new tools and build the social pacts that evolved into the modern world.
For most people, fire isn’t nearly as important any more. However, its legacy endures. Building and enjoying a fire has hidden benefits—especially for men, and especially during the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Those groups more successful at keeping the fire going would have had an advantage over groups that didn’t,” explains Christopher D. Lynn, an anthropologist at the University of Alabama. “A strong case can be made that this created a selective evolutionary pressure for people who can chill out by a fire, which puts them in the mood and position to learn