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Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful
Fox News ^ | 3-17-2006 | Heather Whipps

Posted on 03/17/2006 11:57:05 AM PST by blam

Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful

Friday, March 17, 2006
By Heather Whipps

Depending on which journals you've picked up in recent months, early humans were either peace-loving softies or war-mongering buffoons.

Which theory is to be believed?

A little bit of both, says one archaeologist, who warns against making generalizations when it comes to our long and varied prehistory.

The newest claim concerns Australopithecus afarensis, who lived approximately five million years ago and is one of the first hominids that can be linked directly to our lineage with some certainty.

Scientists say the small and furry creature was hardly an expert at tearing other animals limb from limb, and likely spent most of its time avoiding becoming the lunch of those saber-toothed mammals you see in natural-history museums today.

That's a far cry from the spear-wielding image most of the public has of our earliest ancestors, Robert Sussman of Washington University told an audience at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science last month.

"I think that the 'Man the Hunter' model is so popular because it fits into Western thought so easily," Sussman told LiveScience. "Western humans, especially men, like to think of themselves as completely in charge of their surroundings."

Other research appearing in current scientific journals, however, paints a different picture of early man.

Groups of humans likely engaged in occasional violent encounters in order to increase their territory, argues Raymond C. Kelly of the University of Michigan in a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to Kelly, this may have continued up until about a million years ago, when distance weapons like the spear were invented and the risks associated with attacking other groups increased.

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 4suredude; anthropologists; anthropology; crevolist; early; godsgravesglyphs; humans; peaceful; pretty; probably

1 posted on 03/17/2006 11:57:08 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful

And chewy!

2 posted on 03/17/2006 11:58:03 AM PST by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: blam
peace-loving softies or war-mongering buffoons.

Spot the bias!

3 posted on 03/17/2006 11:59:53 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Never question Bruce Dickinson!)
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To: SunkenCiv
GGG Ping.

A Modern Human and A Neandethal

4 posted on 03/17/2006 12:00:46 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

"We know that there is at least one case of Homo erectus with extensive cuts on the cranium, indicating that the person was essentially scalped and the eyes gouged out," he said.

Musims were present even then.


5 posted on 03/17/2006 12:01:20 PM PST by Frank_N_Sense (Whose DNA stain is on Hillary's blue dress?)
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To: blam

Peaceful until something got in between them and a potential dinner.


6 posted on 03/17/2006 12:02:01 PM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: blam
Groups of humans likely engaged in occasional violent encounters in order to increase their territory, argues Raymond C. Kelly of the University of Michigan in a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

And to think that this was millions of years before the Wellstone funeral !

7 posted on 03/17/2006 12:02:21 PM PST by COUNTrecount
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To: blam
Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful

That's because George Bush hadn't evolved yet.

He ruined everything.

8 posted on 03/17/2006 12:03:15 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: blam

Look !.....It's Ollie North and Robin Williams


9 posted on 03/17/2006 12:05:21 PM PST by NKByrum (Who's your daddy?)
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To: blam

he didn't speak a word about sex .

There has always been disruption in the ether as a result of sex and the many manifestations it can take. One of the major reasons for civilization is to harness sex and prevent the loss of life sexual drive can produce.


10 posted on 03/17/2006 12:05:54 PM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. Slay Pinch)
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To: blam
The current Palestinian territories are a test tube view of how prehistoric man lived.

Before the thought process was a human trait.

11 posted on 03/17/2006 12:05:59 PM PST by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN (Toon Town, Iran...........where reality is the real fantasy.)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: theDentist

They would have worked for Fedex if it had been invented then.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8181801990250175607


13 posted on 03/17/2006 12:09:30 PM PST by cripplecreek (Never a minigun handy when you need one.)
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To: Chi-townChief
Peaceful until something got in between them and a potential dinner or mate.
14 posted on 03/17/2006 12:11:34 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who talk don't know, those who know don't talk.)
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To: blam

So Hobbes was wrong?


15 posted on 03/17/2006 12:15:11 PM PST by blueminnesota
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To: NKByrum
Look !.....It's Ollie North and Robin Williams

:^)

16 posted on 03/17/2006 12:16:09 PM PST by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN (Toon Town, Iran...........where reality is the real fantasy.)
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Mostly peaceful, anyway. Until you crossed them.


17 posted on 03/17/2006 12:25:37 PM PST by vollmond (Careful with that axe, Eugene!)
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To: vollmond

They were ground dwelling, competing with animals like this for the same territory and foods.

No way they were peaceful.

18 posted on 03/17/2006 12:36:24 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (The Internet is the samizdat of liberty..)
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To: NKByrum

dam*, beat me to it. I would have guessed Pete Coors and Robin Williams.


19 posted on 03/17/2006 12:37:51 PM PST by printhead
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To: blam

I read one anthropological analysis once that the earliest families and small villages were pretty much self regulating, but that once communities grew to size where it wasn't easy to know everybody else, there was more undeterred violence until some form of stronger government emerged. I don't know if it's true, but it sounds sort of logical to me.


20 posted on 03/17/2006 12:43:25 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: blam

"Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful"

Yeah. They were until a traveling or rather. slithering, saleman offered them an alternative lifestyle and they bit.


21 posted on 03/17/2006 12:45:27 PM PST by RoadTest ("- - a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people." - Richard Henry Lee, 1786)
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To: Chi-townChief

Yup. Agriculture is a relatively recent development, mans history is probably far more nomadic, following the game and moving with the seasons and natural crops.

And there is no doubt that the early stone-works of man were primarily weapon-oriented. Not just for hunting.


22 posted on 03/17/2006 12:51:09 PM PST by djf (I'm not Islamophobic. But I am bombophobic! If that's the same, freakin deal with it!)
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To: blam

Yes, Man's peaceful and bucolic existence ended with the invention of the SUV.


23 posted on 03/17/2006 1:10:03 PM PST by 6SJ7
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To: TASMANIANRED

Ya do not get to the top of the food chain by being passive and nice.

Humans grouped together because there was safety in numbers, safety from animals and other human beings. The most basic form of governance within a social unit is by one individual, stronger than the others, who is capable of forcing others to his will. This conflict would originate the very moment there was disagreement within the group about who got what share of food, or any other decision, and it is doubtful that those who had not even harnessed fire, flintknapping, or a wheel, were very sophisticated in their negotiating techniques. While negotiating may be more sophisticated.. a club to the head is often more efficient and certainly gets a quicker result.

A council rule (or similar) sometimes evolves as a response to tyranny under the first type of rule, but in either case, power is still in the hands of those (be they individual or group) who can FORCE their will upon those who disagree. Use of force by one group against another occured for generally the same reasons as within the group... someone had something someone else wanted, or wanted to force their will upon another... and in both cases strength and violence decided the issue if, as now, negotiation, threats, and posturing did not.

If War were to be defined as one Social Unit forcing it's will upon another, then War has existed since the dawn of mankind, and all that has changed is the scale.

Similarly, slavery has existed since the first man was able to force his will upon another... the only difference being that slavery, like war, grew more "organized" over time.

If Mankind originated in Africa.. then so did War and Slavery.


24 posted on 03/17/2006 1:19:08 PM PST by AnnoyedOne
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To: blueminnesota
So Hobbes was wrong?

No, Hobbes was right in saying that primitives, especially tribes, are in a constant state of "warre" -- by which he meant they were extremely territorial, desiring to expand territory and defend it to the death. There were some "band"-level organizations which were perhaps a little less rigid.

However, I have seen nothing to convince me that australopithecus was anything but a large species of chimp.

Yes, Hobbes was right; and so was Calvin (on human nature being riddled with hubris and concupiscence -- neither of which is conducive to much peace). :)

25 posted on 03/17/2006 1:44:06 PM PST by Migraine (...diversity is great (until it happens to you)...)
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To: AnnoyedOne

You called it exactly.

Mother nature is very violent.

If you are an herbivore you are on the menu for a carnivore.


26 posted on 03/17/2006 2:23:55 PM PST by TASMANIANRED (The Internet is the samizdat of liberty..)
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To: blam
Chimps don't hunt larger animals for food, nor do they use complex tools or weapons, yet they've been observed forming into war bands to encrouch on the territory of other groups simply to murder other males. You can't draw any reliable conclusions about pacifism from a lack of hunting or weapons.
27 posted on 03/17/2006 3:13:11 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: blam
Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful

After exterminating the Neanderthals, they needed a break.

28 posted on 03/17/2006 3:14:26 PM PST by Jim Noble (And you know what I'm talkin' 'bout!)
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To: blam
Sure they were peaceful, until they woke up one day to find that monolith thingy.


29 posted on 03/17/2006 4:38:47 PM PST by Maceman (Fake but accurate -- and now double-sourced)
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To: blam; ClearCase_guy; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; ...
Thanks Blam. Kudos, ClearCase_guy.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

30 posted on 03/17/2006 11:14:58 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Yes indeed, Civ updated his profile and links pages again, on Monday, March 6, 2006.)
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To: blam
"I think that the 'Man the Hunter' model is so popular because it fits into Western thought so easily," Sussman told LiveScience. "Western humans, especially men, like to think of themselves as completely in charge of their surroundings."

OK this is where they lose me. I hate that PC crap.

31 posted on 03/18/2006 8:23:12 AM PST by ElkGroveDan (California bashers will be called out)
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To: blam

Otzi, the man found frozen in a glacier was alive about 10,000 years ago.

An autopsy found numerous wounds and part of an arrowhead stuck in him.

Perhaps he was in an unusally violent place?


32 posted on 03/18/2006 11:17:30 AM PST by wildbill
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To: blam
Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty....

Well, duh. We've known that since 1966.


33 posted on 03/18/2006 11:27:00 AM PST by Plutarch
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To: blam
That's a far cry from the spear-wielding image...

Poor Kennewick man wielded a spear allright, embedded in his pelvis. He must be the exception that proves the rule.


34 posted on 03/18/2006 11:33:42 AM PST by Plutarch
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To: wildbill
"Otzi, the man found frozen in a glacier was alive about 10,000 years ago."

He's about half that old. Also, he had blood of three other people on him.

35 posted on 03/18/2006 11:53:42 AM PST by blam
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To: blam

Classic lib/fem line:"Western humans,especially men,like to think of themselves as completely in charge of their surroundings."I'm surprised they didn't add that this early "peaceful" human society was matriarchal and living in harmony with nature.


36 posted on 03/18/2006 1:40:57 PM PST by Thombo2
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