Consciousness likely originated to improve the pursuit of food.
Originally automatic processes in early life forms, being in the presence of nutrients would produce activity while lack would slow. This evolved to action to pursue areas of nutrition, and eventually pursuit of prey. To advance beyond merely consuming what is encountered requires the evolution of sensory organs, and as prey evolves to evade, memory and projection and object permanence become necessary. These constitute an awareness, forming a basis for consciousness.
- Biology 2C.