Roots of Violence

Human – business evolution

Business Evolution by patriziasoliani is licensed under CC 2.0

It’s without question that humans are some of the most violent species on the planet. An article from the Independent suggests “Humans have evolved with a propensity to kill one another that is six times higher than the average mammal” all according to a new study. In this study, researchers compiled information on over 4 million deaths within mammals dating back to the Paleolithic era. They used this information to produce an evolutionary tree that displays different mammals violent tendencies. The research resulted with humans being the most violent species towards each other. At the end of the day, we were the first species to conquer earth.

To further back this claim Live Science suggests, “the difference between human and animal violence comes down to the complexity of the emotion driving it” Humans have complex social relationships that most other animals don’t share. Emotions like revenge and spite have yet to be proven in other species. Social tension and complex environmental issues spike emotions in human. Violence can be triggered in so many different ways.


Skull Timeline by Internet Archive Book Images with no known copyright restrictions 

It’s important to understand that violence and emotions have always been a part of human nature. If we think back to the Paleolithic time, life was rooted around survival. Hunting and mating were the needs for survival. Studies suggest that male human faces have evolved to minimize injury caused by punches. This adaptation suggests that when resources like food and mates were scarce violence occurred in order for survival. Humans weren’t killing each other in revenge or because of a political disagreement. Humans were fighting each other for increased fitness.


Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix is licensed under CC-0

It’s scary to think that environmental and social issues continue to cause violence today just as it did in the past. Except now we’re more evolved and have the capacity to do great harm. The fact that most of our wars have been over resources goes to show that nothing much has changed. The complexity of our social issues has increased however the root of violence still remains very similar. If we can’t learn to make peace with natural resources we will continue to fight with each other.

9 thoughts on “Roots of Violence

  1. This post about human nature and violence was really interesting. I’ve never really though about how we have aways been a relatively violent species and how much we have evolved to even be able to be civil amongst each other. Really great job

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  2. I really enjoyed this read! Very informational and it definitely took on a different flow than some of the other violence and human tendency posts I’ve seen.
    Did you learn anything about how we test other animals for these traits?

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  3. Pingback: Final Reflection | Nicholas Sonsini

  4. So intriguing to think that “not much has changed” as you say. Are humans essentially still just fighting for survival and the ability to pass along genes- just in different ways now? Is this an evolutionary inevitability? Can our understanding of our biological nature and its history help us forge new more conscious ways of existing that allows a better relationship with our planet and each other? (I don’t really expect you to have an answer to this question, but I do think it is an important one to think about!).

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    • From the research ive done on the subject – it seems largely contributed to the fact that we have evolved faster than we can actually evol. With technology and progresses using our advanced minds we’ve created an ever-changing environment that we are incapable,of adapting to (meaning the pace of change in our environment is faster than the pace we are capable of biologically adapting). Because we are unable to adapt to our new environment we are unable to exist the way we used to. A lot of my blogs talk about Dopamine. Dopamine used to have many uses at the dawn of time that kept us alive. However, we no longer need dopamine for survival like we used to however pur body still produces just as much as it did back when. Because our bodies arent using dopamine as fast as its created a build up can occur which is linked to depression, loneliness, violence, murder etc. We created a new social system at doesn’t require the use of the chemicals we create and our bodies arent adapting as fast as that social system – just think about cell phone tech 5 years ago versus today – that social environment is rapidly adjusting, yet – I can’t just flip a switch a stop my brain from over producing chemicals. It would take many many many years for our systems to adjust and we dont allow the time for that.
      Its all very interesting – and this is mostly opinion based on fact than fact itsself, but its fun to speculate and think about. There definitely in a reason for the more recent increase in violence and I think it has to do with this maladaption that could be happening in all of our brains right this instant. Thats just my ideas on the subject. I do love this post and love thinking about this kind of stuff. The mind is FASCINATING!

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      • Thinking about evolutionary ‘time-lags’ or how our environment is changing so much faster than we can evolve biologically is really fascinating. Some think then that we evolved to be more phenotypically flexible, able to respond in a variety of ways to unpredictable environmental shifts, although even this plasticity has its limits!

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    • I think making more conscious decisions about anything makes us react in a calmer, more intelligent manner. It’s really unsettling to think, but a lot of people argue over issues of which they really aren’t well informed. If everyone did more research before engaging in discussions or making decisions the world would likely be a much cleaner and more peaceful place.

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      • I couldn’t agree more, it’s scary in a sense how people argue over issues they know not much about. Politics is a great example, let’s create two sides, separate the power, and argue over which one we see fits our best interests.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d like to think that we’re capable of more diplomacy than our ancestors, but you make some good points that suggest otherwise! I wonder if humans will be as violent in future generations?

    Liked by 2 people

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