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Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Science |

Aggression, engine of human evolution and cannibalism, common practice

Aggression, engine of human evolution and cannibalism, common practice

Human has been made possible by multiple causes including language and culture. But aggression and conflict help to explain the rapid development of our capabilities. In parallel, documented cases of cannibalism increases.

The human remains found in Gough’s Cave in England are very eloquent. 14,000 years ago (yesterday as they say) humans ate their counterparts on sophisticated practices. Previously they had found human bones from animal bones indicating that both were common dish in the diet of other humans. In England, the signs are more obvious. Diners stones used to fillet the flesh of their victims and crushed bones for the marrow inside. But even more telling, bones, teeth marks contained so no doubt about the end of the dead.

However, the skulls were in good condition with evidence of having been emptied of their contents. It appears that the fate of the skulls was making drinking cups. Thus cannibalism was a practice not only food but mostly ritual. A rite and beliefs do not know.

Another recent publication talks about the practice of eating our fellows. This time is in the rich deposit of Atapuerca. Homo antecessor, who lived in the Gran Dolina, Burgos, Spain, lived much longer ago, 800,000 years and it is believed to be forerunner of Neanderthals.

Among the remains found there bones of 11 young individuals mixed with bones of other animals. The researchers compared the Homo antecessor cannibalism with the current behavior of chimpanzees that on occasion eat their congeners.

We use an analogy with the behavior of these primates to propose that the TD6 hominids carried out low-risk attacks on members of other groups to defend access to resources within their own territories and try to expand these areas to the detriment of neighboring groups

But in those days despise the body of a human tender was a bad idea. Better eat. So for war, ritual or hungry, eat our fellow man has been common practice in our short history.

The short makes sense because it is impossible to find a faster evolution than human . We separate ourselves from the evolutionary line of chimpanzees 5 million years ago. Lucy , the famous Ethiopian fossil lived 3 million years ago. The basic difference and it is considered the precursor of man is walking on two legs, but his brain was equivalent to chimpanzees, a pint. Since then the brain has tripled up to the current volume of 1.5 liters.

Many factors have contributed to human evolution. Losing trees, lead a group, the opposable thumb, bipedalism, language and culture. But aggression seems to occupy a central role. Not surprisingly all our predecessors have disappeared.

In good times the population spread. When the bad times came, fragmented populations are being reduced to small groups. These groups genetically evolved separately. When they came back the good times, populations, previously separate, returning to join. And coming to occupy spaces, fought and made to disappear in that period had evolved less. So for three million years accelerating evolution.

The culture has been a key driver in our evolution, but possibly also the aggression and conflict. And if you are hungry, who can refuse a dish well served if it is a cousin of yours?

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