Tech UPTechnologyHumans do not carry violence in our genes

Humans do not carry violence in our genes

Scientists specializing in human evolution have debated for decades whether our species is, so to speak, predisposed to violence . Do we humans have a tendency to resolve our differences by force, even if it involves attacking or even killing rival groups of our fellow humans? In 2012, the discovery at the Nataruk site of the bodies of at least 27 individuals , massacred about 10,000 years ago – in some skulls even the impacts of arrowheads can be observed – near Lake Turkana, in Kenya, seemed to point in that address.

However, a team of researchers from different Japanese institutions and the University of Bristol, in the United Kingdom, suggested in a study published in 2016 in the journal Biology Letters that this behavior could be exceptional. In fact, the scientists, coordinated by Hisashi Nakao, an expert in Philosophy of Science at Yamaguchi University, clarify that the number of deaths from violent clashes between prehistoric hunters and gatherers is very low.

This is the conclusion they have reached after analyzing a huge amount of data on the state of the remains of some 2,500 individuals who lived during the Jomon period, which developed in Japan between approximately 15,000 and 2,800 years ago. His idea was to see if the bone fragments showed signs of breaks or perforations that could be attributed to some kind of violent behavior . As they found out, this type of injury only appeared in 0.89% of the population; in 1.8%, if only adults were taken into account. In their opinion, it is proof that, on the whole, they led fairly peaceful lives.

The result is much lower than that found in other studies carried out in different populations that lived at the same time, and which show percentages of between 12% and 14%. According to Nakao and his collaborators, this suggests that violent behaviors were not present in all prehistoric peoples and that, contrary to what other experts consider, war did not have to be the element that led human beings to unite in communities.

Image: Hans Splinter / CC

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