The Evolution of Violence

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Subscribe now. Enter your email address Continue Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists. I would like to receive morning headlines Monday - Friday plus breaking news alerts by email. Update newsletter preferences. Shape Created with Sketch. Science news in pictures Show all The sex of the turtle is determined by the temperatures at which they are incubated.

Warm temperatures favour females. African elephant poaching rates have dropped by 60 per cent in six years, an international study has found.

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It is thought the decline could be associated with the ivory trade ban introduced in China in Scientists have identified a four-legged creature with webbed feet to be an ancestor of the whale. Dr Sidney Tamm of the Marine Biological Laboratory could not initially find any trace of an anus on the species.

However, as the animal gets full, a pore opens up to dispose of waste. Feared extinct, the Wallace's Giant bee has been spotted for the first time in nearly 40 years. An international team of conservationists spotted the bee, that is four times the size of a typical honeybee, on an expedition to a group of Indonesian Islands. Fossilised bones digested by crocodiles have revealed the existence of three new mammal species that roamed the Cayman Islands years ago.

The bones belonged to two large rodent species and a small shrew-like animal. Scientists at the University of Maryland have created a fabric that adapts to heat, expanding to allow more heat to escape the body when warm and compacting to retain more heat when cold.

A study from the University of Tokyo has found that the tears of baby mice cause female mice to be less interested in the sexual advances of males. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a report which projects the impact of a rise in global temperatures of 1. The nobel prize for chemistry has been awarded to three chemists working with evolution. Frances Smith is being awarded the prize for her work on directing the evolution of enzymes, while Gregory Winter and George Smith take the prize for their work on phage display of peptides and antibodies.

The nobel prize for physics has been awarded to three physicists working with lasers. Arthur Ashkin L was awarded for his "optical tweezers" which use lasers to grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells. The Ledumahadi Mafube roamed around million years ago in what is now South Africa.

Recently discovered by a team of international scientists, it was the largest land animal of its time, weighing 12 tons and standing at 13 feet. In Sesotho, the South African language of the region in which the dinosaur was discovered, its name means "a giant thunderclap at dawn". Scientists have witnessed the birth of a planet for the first time ever. The planet stands clearly out, visible as a bright point to the right of the center of the image, which is blacked out by the coronagraph mask used to block the blinding light of the central star. These compartments are found beneath the skin, as well as lining the gut, lungs, blood vessels and muscles, and join together to form a network supported by a mesh of strong, flexible proteins.

Working in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, a team led by archaeologists at the University of Exeter unearthed hundreds of villages hidden in the depths of the rainforest. These excavations included evidence of fortifications and mysterious earthworks called geoglyphs.

Why are Men Violent? What Evolution & Society Tell Us | National Review

More than one in 10 people were found to have traces of class A drugs on their fingers by scientists developing a new fingerprint-based drug test. Using sensitive analysis of the chemical composition of sweat, researchers were able to tell the difference between those who had been directly exposed to heroin and cocaine, and those who had encountered it indirectly. The storm bigger than the Earth, has been swhirling for years.


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The image's colours have been enhanced after it was sent back to Earth. Included in Wellcome Image Awards, this 3D image of an African grey parrot shows the highly intricate system of blood vessels.

How Can Evolutionary Psychology Help Explain Intimate Partner Violence?

Another Wellcome Images Award winner, this time of baby Hawaiian bobtail squid. In prehistoric times, bands and tribes were no more violent than the general population. The most violent time in our history was during the Formative, Classic, and Post-Classic eras.

These are the times immediately preceding our modern era, and includes the time of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages. More specifically, though, the most violent era was the Post-Classic, which runs from AD to modern times. And then things suddenly got better. Today we experience a similar number of deaths from human violence as we did back in prehistoric times—as a percentage, of course. The report, then, has good and bad news. Good, in that we are safer than ever before, if we live in the right part of the world.

Bad, because if you live in a tribal or gang territory, you are experiencing the most danger of violence that human history has ever seen. Ironically, it may have been the very policies promoted by England and other Western governments that lay behind these conditions. One of the main causes of the spikes in global food price, according to Bar-Yam and colleagues, was investor speculation that resulted in an economic bubble like the one that hit the housing market in Beginning in , financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in the United States as well as Barclays Capital in the UK successfully lobbied their respective governments to deregulate the commodities market.

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This allowed them to invent new financial products, known as derivatives, that caused an explosion of speculation and volatility in agricultural prices. The price of food rose along with the value of these investments, creating a financial bubble that put increasing strain on those communities already on the edge.

England's Conservative government also implemented austerity measures at the same time as the peak in food prices that rolled back many social programs that poor communities relied on. On November 10, , for example, student protesters rioted when cuts to education caused tuition fees to nearly triple. Likewise, additional cuts targeted youth and community centers, medical coverage, unemployment and disability payments, child benefits, as well as housing and fuel subsidies for pensioners. England already had one of the most unequal societies in Europe based on the divide between rich and poor.

Such austerity measures may have pushed this division to its breaking point. An interactive map created by the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London makes clear that the riot outbreaks were clustered in the most economically deprived regions of the city. It was these regions that would have been most aversely affected by the austerity measures and, with a peak in both food and energy prices occurring at the same time, the environmental conditions were ideal for a triggering event that would push an already stressed population over into social discord.

This conclusion is further supported by an analysis of similar austerity measures throughout Europe during the 20th century conducted by economists Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London.

CARTA:Violence in Human Evolution: Neuroendocrineology; Intergroup Violence; Humanity and Savagery

According to their report Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe published in August, there was a "clear link between the magnitude of expenditure cutbacks and increases in social unrest. As Ponticelli and Voth point out, when expenditure cuts reached 1 percent or more of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, the total number of demonstrations, riots, assassinations, and general strikes in a single year would increase by one-third compared to periods of budget expansion.

When budget cuts reached 5 percent of GDP the number of incidents doubled see Figure 3 below. According to London's Financial Times , England's current budget cuts are 4. It was in the midst of these environmental conditions that police fatally shot Mark Duggan on August 4th and allegedly beat a year-old girl during what was reportedly an otherwise peaceful protest in response to the shooting. The violence then cascaded to others, who took advantage of the social disorder for other reasons. Social disorder is contagious.

As in London, the Novocherkassk riot forty years ago died down as those involved eventually dispersed, sobered up, or found themselves in jail. As the riot population declined, the shared social identity declined with it. But the rioters left behind a physical scar on the urban landscape, evidence of the rage shared by thousands of people during a time of acute environmental stress. However, while the collective violence may have waned, the political meaning of the events remained hotly contested.


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  • But what is to blame for such cases of collective violence--nature, or the unnatural conditions of modern life? While there may well be evolved responses that promote collective violence, research in captive primates suggest that these behaviors are heavily influenced by environmental stress.

    During the past year environmental conditions were just right for the triggering of social discord in our own society and, in the contagion that followed, violence quickly spread among a population predisposed to a shared identity. For London and the cities throughout North Africa and the Middle East, it appears there was a free choice to riot after all.

    But the choice didn't come from the rioters alone, it rose from leaders and policymakers and the larger society as a whole. Riots reveal a colony in discord. Many of us have acknowledged the widening inequality and economic decline of our most impoverished citizens--but we chose to ignore it. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, after experiencing firsthand the inequality and injustice that emerged from the Soviet command economy, wrote that the Novocherkassk riot was the first indication that the Iron Curtain was beginning to unravel.

    If this assumption is flawed we will need an alternative. Human nature is not destined for social discord so long as we have the freedom to choose conditions that can reduce the potential for collective violence. But the question remains if we will do so. Marco Lagi, Karla Z. New England Complex Systems Institute. Jacopo Ponticelli and Hans-Joachim Voth John Archer Paul E. Honess and Carolina M. Marin Enrichment and aggression in primates. DOI: Richard Wrangham and Michael Wilson Collective Violence: Comparisons between Youths and Chimpanzees. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences — The views expressed are those of the author s and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

    I grew up in an old house in Forest Ranch, California as the eldest of four boys. I would take all day hikes with my cat in the canyon just below our property, and the neighbor kids taught me to shoot a bow and arrow.