Warfare in an evolutionary perspective

Majolo, Bonaventura (2019) Warfare in an evolutionary perspective. Evolutionary Anthropology, 28 (6). pp. 321-331. ISSN 1520-6505

Full content URL: http://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21806

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Abstract

The importance of warfare for human evolution is hotly debated in anthropology. Some authors hypothesize that warfare emerged at least 200,000-100,000 years BP, was frequent, and significantly shaped human social evolution. Other authors claim that warfare is a recent phenomenon, linked to the emergence of agriculture, and mostly explained by cultural rather than evolutionary forces. Here I highlight and critically evaluate six controversial points on the evolutionary bases of warfare. I argue that cultural and evolutionary explanations on the emergence of warfare are not alternative but analyze biological diversity at two distinct levels. An evolved propensity to act aggressively towards outgroup individuals may emerge irrespective of whether warfare appeared early/late during human evolution. Finally, I argue that lethal violence and aggression towards outgroup individuals are two linked but distinct phenomena, and that war and peace are complementary and should not always be treated as two mutually-exclusive behavioral responses.

Keywords:Warfare, Conflict, Group discrimination, Evolution
Subjects:L Social studies > L600 Anthropology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:39200
Deposited On:16 Dec 2019 16:50

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