Skip to comments.Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful
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 ...
Spot the bias!
A Modern Human and A Neandethal
"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.
Peaceful until something got in between them and a potential dinner.
And to think that this was millions of years before the Wellstone funeral !
That's because George Bush hadn't evolved yet.
He ruined everything.
Look !.....It's Ollie North and Robin Williams
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.
Before the thought process was a human trait.
They would have worked for Fedex if it had been invented then.
So Hobbes was wrong?
Mostly peaceful, anyway. Until you crossed them.
They were ground dwelling, competing with animals like this for the same territory and foods.
No way they were peaceful.
dam*, beat me to it. I would have guessed Pete Coors and Robin Williams.
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.
"Anthropologists: Early Humans Probably Pretty Peaceful"
Yeah. They were until a traveling or rather. slithering, saleman offered them an alternative lifestyle and they bit.
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.
Yes, Man's peaceful and bucolic existence ended with the invention of the SUV.
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.
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). :)
You called it exactly.
Mother nature is very violent.
If you are an herbivore you are on the menu for a carnivore.
After exterminating the Neanderthals, they needed a break.
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OK this is where they lose me. I hate that PC crap.
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?
Well, duh. We've known that since 1966.
Poor Kennewick man wielded a spear allright, embedded in his pelvis. He must be the exception that proves the rule.
He's about half that old. Also, he had blood of three other people on him.
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.