News & AnalysisAnthropology

Latest Skirmish Over Ancestral Violence Strikes Blow for Peace

Science  19 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6143, pp. 224
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6143.224

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Summary

Are hunter-gatherer societies warlike? That question has sparked a war of its own among scientists, because if war is a common feature of the foraging way of life, then perhaps it was a driving force in human evolution. A study on page 270 in Science of existing ethnographies concludes that most killings among mobile foragers today are more like murder than war. But critics challenge the study's methods, and suggest that some of these traditional societies do indeed wage war.