The phylogenetic roots of Human violence

ct1qczhwyaaouis-png-largeA study recently published in the journal Nature got me hooked! The authors decided to tackle the question of the evolutionary roots of violence towards conspecifics in Humans. To do so, they opted for a phylogenetic approach. To estimate lethal aggression in mammals, that is, the percentage of deaths caused by conspecifics, they compiled a database including the amount of conspecifics killing observed in 1024 mammal species. Fascinatingly, as illustrated by their figure, their results strongly suggest that conspecifics lethal violence in Humans is very likely to have been inherited from the common ancestors of all primates. Indeed, interpersonal lethal violence stood at 2% in humans which is similar to other living primates and to the value inferred for the ancestor of primates. Besides, this value is also equivalent to the one calculated in prehistoric tribes.

Read the original publication here.

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