Deliciousness and the Evolution of Flavor | National Humanities Center

Humanities in Class: Webinar Series

Deliciousness and the Evolution of Flavor

Food; Human Ecology; Evolution

Robert R. Dunn (Senior Vice Provost for University Interdisciplinary Programs, North Carolina State University)

October 12, 2023

Advisor: Julianne Melissa Farkas, NHC Teacher Advisory Council

Deliciousness often seems elitist or precious. In this webinar, Rob Dunn will demonstrate something of the reverse, namely that the capacity to distinguish delicious foods from less delicious ones evolved in animals hundreds of millions of years ago and has been central to animal evolution. More specifically, building on his work with Monica Sanchez, Dunn argues that deliciousness influenced most and perhaps all of the major evolutionary transitions in humans. Deliciousness is implicated in the origin of big human brains, tool use, language, the origin of fermentation (yes, this webinar will feature beer and bread) and much more.

Webinar Resources

Before the live webinar please be sure to review the required resources. Additional supporting materials that may be of interest are also listed below.

Required Resources

Read the two online articles below for background reading on evolutionary transitions in humans and future considerations on ecologies of the future.

Additional Resources


Science / Medicine / Food / Human Ecology / Evolution /


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