A team of specialists in Spain led a new study on human behavior and determined that killer tendencies lie in our distant origins. Experts weren’t able to determine whether genes trigger these intentions, but they found them in primates as well. It seems that we share this feature with our savage ancestors.
Researchers first investigated the history of killing with all mammals. They were not interested in the relation predator-prey, but in the relation between members of the same species. They observed that animals tend to act aggressively against fellows of their kind, accounting even for cases of cannibalism.
The new study is based on no less than one thousand animal species and approximately four million cases of murder. The authors of the study noted that violence and aggression were intensified more and more as animal evolution went on. They observed that among all studied animals, primates had the highest rates when it came to killer tendencies, scoring two percent.
The study found evidence of lethal aggression among the first humans in the Paleolithic era. The Middle-Ages were also dark times when murders were quite frequent. According to statistics, twelve percent of the registered deaths were caused by man back then. However, as time went by, the rates started to drop. As far as modern days are concerned, the homicide rate is low, namely 0.01 percent.
Approximately six hundred human populations that lived across the centuries were studied by the Spanish researchers. Although evidence of human violence and killer tendencies can be traced back to our primate ancestors, civilization can erase this traces. Specialists say that evolving as a civilized society has clearly reshaped these tendencies, human behavior, and human interaction.
In other words, for both humans and animals in the wild, the environment can shape their behavior. Society eradicated the killer tendencies in humans. On the other hand, animals still live in the wild, and they obey the laws of nature.
As far as other species are concerned, it seems like one of the most aggressive of them against its own kind is the lemur. The study shows that seventeen percent of the deaths are caused by members of the same species. This is how cute lemurs outranked merciless hyenas, which are responsible for only eight percent of the deaths of their packs’ members.
The study also accounts for species which never killed their own members. Although this is not the case with humans, our species can still learn a few tricks on cohabitation from this peaceful animals.
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