Some leading scientists who have studied warfare through the ages have long suggested that humans — the males of the species, at least — have little choice when it comes to slaughtering one another in great numbers. Such warlike behavior, the scholars contend, is hardwired into the human brain. We are, in other words, born to kill our own, an evolutionary trait that sets us apart from nearly all other species on the planet. Paul "Jim" Roscoe, a University of Maine professor of anthropology and cooperating professor of Quaternary and climate studies, subscribes instead to an equally long-held theory that suggests just the opposite: humans actually have an innate aversion to killing. However, Roscoe believes that this natural aversion can be disabled when warfare is thought to be advantageous to a clan, a tribe or a nation.
The Evolution of Warfare Part I by Anita Stratos
This entry is a subentry of Disciplinary Views Of War . Anthropology seeks the type of comparative explanations that are lacking in histories of specific wars or in the synchronic analyses of social and political science. Because of anthropology's access to the archeological and ethnographic data, it is well placed to analyze not only the causes of specific wars but also the origins of warfare itself. The definitions of warfare anthropology uses to achieve this special focus are a source of continuing debate; in part because of these problems in defining war , some anthropologists turn to the study of peace , seeing war only as socially dysfunctional. However, most definitions of war draw attention to its collective and socially sanctioned nature, allowing its distinction from the great variety of human behaviors that demonstrate aggression and violence .
THE anthropologist Napoleon A. Chagnon has spent decades studying patterns of conflict and revenge among Yanomami Indians, deep within the Amazon Basin. He needn't have traveled so far to pursue his research. After all, anthropologists themselves are one of the most bellicose tribes on earth. The discipline's latest outbreak of infighting -- over accusations of ''ethnographic cleansing'' made against Mr. Chagnon in an upcoming book, ''Darkness in El Dorado'' -- may be its nastiest battle yet.
IT'S a question at the heart of what it is to be human: why do we go to war? The cost to human society is enormous, yet for all our intellectual development, we continue to wage war well into the 21st century. Now a new theory is emerging that challenges the prevailing view that warfare is a product of human culture and thus a relatively recent phenomenon. For the first time, anthropologists, archaeologists, primatologists, psychologists and political scientists are approaching a consensus. Not only is war as ancient as humankind, they say, but it has played an integral role in our evolution. The theory helps explain the evolution of familiar aspects of warlike behaviour such as gang warfare.
Skip to comments. Scientists Say Warfare Began After People Formed Villages Seattle Times ^ | 9-16-2003 | Dan Vergano Posted on Wed 17 Sep 2003 02:33:47 AM CET by blam Scientists say warfare began after people formed villages
The Pentagon’s new program to embed anthropologists with combat brigades raises many concerns
by ROBERTO J. GONZÁLEZ And DAVID H. PRICE When anthropologists work overseas, they typically arrive with an array of equipment including notebooks, trowels, tape recorders, and cameras. But in the new context of the Bush Administration’s "war on terror," a growing number of anthropologists are arriving in foreign countries wearing camouflage, body armor, and guns.
Amina Abaker Mohammed occupies a simple mud hut with a thatched roof outside a refugee camp in northern Chad. Until earlier this year, she lived in Darfur, the western region of Sudan, where the Sudanese government is pursuing a campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arabs. Amina is a member of the Zaghawa tribe, one of the largest non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur.
Damon Winter/The New York Times Nicholas D. Kristof , a columnist for The New York Times since 2001, writes op-ed columns that appear twice a week. Mr.
It is one of the most shameful stories of the post-Cold War world. One million Tutsis were slaughtered by the Hutu majority in Rwanda while the West turned a blind eye. As the U.N.ís Genocide Conventionócreated to make sure genocide would never happen againómarks its fiftieth anniversary, FRONTLINE examines the role of the U.S. and the U.N. as they ignored the warnings and evidence of impending massacre in Rwanda. FRONTLINE's web site delves deeper into the story, offering: the cables showing how the UN and Western powers ignored warnings and evidence of impending massacre; a chronology of the US and UN actions during the 100 days of slaughter;interviews with US/UN officials and writer Philip Gourevitch; an update on justice in Rwanda today;and readings on genocide and Hutu/Tutsi relations over two centuries. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
outh Africans are on a truth-telling mission. As part of the negotiated settlement that led to the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela as president, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established by the South African Government to investigate the crimes committed between 1960 and 1994 during the fight against apartheid. Hailed worldwide as a model for airing gross violations of human rights without resorting to Nuremburg-style trials, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was seen by many in South Africa as a means of healing the wounds of history. "We needed to acknowledge that we had a horrendous past," said the TRC chairman, Desmond Tutu. "We needed to look the beast in the eye, so that the past wouldn't hold us hostage anymore." After more than two years of hearings, the Commission published findings compiled from the testimony of more than 21,000 victims.
Darfur is a 150,000-square-mile expanse of desert and savannah, with five or six million inhabitants, spreading out from the fertile slopes of Jebel Marra, the mountainous zone in Sudan’s far west. Remote from the country’s political heartland on the Nile, it is linked to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, by seven hundred miles of dirt road and a single-track railway. Over the last sixteen months a disas-ter has been unfolding in Darfur, one that is agonizingly familiar to observers of Sudan during the past two decades. In response to an insurgency on the part of rebel groups demanding greater political representation in Khartoum, the government of General Omar al-Bashir has unleashed a scorched-earth policy across large tracts of the province.
War on the Decline Around the World (1/15/06) Yanomamö Ax Fight Interactive : a web page providing elements of The Ax Fight A series of articles on tribal warfare: P robably the single most common motive mentioned by tribal warriors when asked why they go to war, is revenge, according to a Penn State anthropologist.