Did Warfare Among Ancestral Hunter-Gatherers Affect the Evolution of Human Social Behaviors?

  title={Did Warfare Among Ancestral Hunter-Gatherers Affect the Evolution of Human Social Behaviors?},
  author={Samuel Bowles},
  pages={1293 - 1298}
  • S. Bowles
  • Published 5 June 2009
  • Psychology
  • Science
War and Peace? Modern behavior, including the development of advanced tools, musical instruments, and art, seems to have arisen in humans in stages. The earliest hints are seen in Africa about 70 to 90,000 years ago, but later in Europe about 45,000 years ago. An ongoing discussion centers on the origins and significance of human prosociality. During early human development, could the benefits of altruistic behavior have outweighed its costs (see the Perspective by Mace)? Bowles (p. 1293… 

Lethal Aggression in Mobile Forager Bands and Implications for the Origins of War

Investigating lethal aggression in a sample of 21 mobile forager band societies derived systematically from the standard cross-cultural sample suggests that most incidents of lethal aggression among MFBS may be classified as homicides, a few others as feuds, and a minority as war.

Warfare and Social Preferences in Children

Since Darwin, warfare and inter-group hostilities have been hypothesized as catalysts in explanations for the evolutionary puzzle of human pro-sociality. Lethal conflicts would foster the development

Resource scarcity drives lethal aggression among prehistoric hunter-gatherers in central California

Results show that individuals are prone to violence in times and places of resource scarcity, providing a clear rationale to understand why violence may be greater in specific times or places through human history, which can help predict where and when it may arise in the future.

Proving communal warfare among hunter‐gatherers: The quasi‐rousseauan error

  • A. Gat
  • Political Science
    Evolutionary anthropology
  • 2015
All human populations during the Pleistocene, until about 12,000 years ago, were hunter‐gatherers, or foragers, of the simple, mobile sort that lacked accumulated resources, so anthropology should have been uniquely positioned to answer the question of aboriginal human fighting or lack thereof.

The Evolutionary Origins of Human Political Systems by Herbert Gintis , Carel van Schaik

q 201 We provide the most up-to-date evidence available in various behavioral fields in support of the hypothesis that the emergence of bipedalism and cooperative breeding in the hominin

Some remarks about murder: a Darwinian perspective

Paleoanthropological remains and historical data show that human beings have a long history of violent aggression. However, killing in group is distinct from killing in a one-to-one interaction, as

The demography of human warfare can drive sex differences in altruism

Abstract Recent years have seen great interest in the suggestion that between-group aggression and within-group altruism have coevolved. However, these efforts have neglected the possibility that

The Evolution of Human Warfare

Here we propose a new theory for the origins and evolution of human warfare as a complex social phenomenon involving several behavioral traits, including aggression, risk taking, male bonding,

The evolutionary anthropology of war

Zoon politikon: The evolutionary origins of human socio-political systems




Ancestral War and the Evolutionary Origins of “Heroism”

Two simulations explore the possibility that heroism evolved as a specialized form of altruism in response to war and show that war selects strongly for heroism but only weakly for a domain-general altruistic propensity that promotes both heroism and other privately costly, group-benefiting behaviors.

War and the evolution of belligerence and bravery

It is shown that the selective pressure on these two traits can be substantial even in groups of large size, and that they may be driven by two independent reproduction-enhancing resources: additional mates for males and additional territory (or material resources) for females.

Hunter‐gatherers and human evolution

The ethnographic record of foragers provides the only direct observations of human behavior in the absence of agriculture, and as such is invaluable for testing hypotheses about human behavioral evolution.

Comparative rates of violence in chimpanzees and humans

Preliminary data support Boehm’s hypothesis that chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and humans have similar rates of death from intraspecific aggression, whereas chimpanzees have higher rates of non-lethal physical attack.

Alliance and conflict : the world system of the Iñupiaq Eskimos

Alliance and Conflict combines a richly descriptive study of intersocietal relations in early nineteenth-century Northwest Alaska with a bold theoretical treatise on the structure of the world system

Nineteenth-Century Arrow Wounds and Perceptions of Prehistoric Warfare

  • G. Milner
  • Political Science
    American Antiquity
  • 2005
In recent years, prehistoric warfare has increasingly attracted the attention of archaeologists in North America, much like other parts of the world. Skeletons with several forms of trauma, including

Australia's Ancient Warriors: Changing Depictions of Fighting in the Rock Art of Arnhem Land, N.T.

Depictions of battle scenes, skirmishes and hand-to-hand combat are rare in hunter-gatherer art and when they do occur most often result from contact with agriculturalist or industrialized invaders.

War before civilization

The myth of the peace-loving "noble savage" is persistent and pernicious. Indeed, for the last fifty years, most popular and scholarly works have agreed that prehistoric warfare was rare, harmless,

War in Human Civilization

  • A. Gat
  • Political Science, History
  • 2006
PART 1: WARFARE IN THE FIRST TWO MILLION YEARS: ENVIRONMENT, GENES, AND CULTURE 1. Introduction: The Human 'State of Nature' 2. Peaceful or War-like: Did Hunter-Gatherers Fight? 3. Why Fighting? The