Waging war: The curse of human intelligence

ORONO With America and its allies poised to attack Iraq and the U.S. and North Korea locked in a showdown over nuclear weapons, diplomats and politicians would do well to remember that humans may have nuclear technology but still only possess stone-age brains. This is often a lethal combination, says University of Maine anthropologist Paul Roscoe who will present a paper on tribal warfare in New Guinea today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Denver.

Roscoe has extensively studied revenge as a motive for war among tribes in New Guinea and concludes that killing enemies to avenge the death of kin something only humans do is probably not a useful evolutionary adaptation. This is because lethal revenge most frequently fuels more killing rather than deterring it, says the professor of anthropology and cooperating professor of Quaternary and Climate Studies at UMaine.

"I argue that revenge is probably not an adaptive feature because revenge is not good for you," Roscoe says. Evolutionarily speaking, it does not make sense to engage in behavior that may not only kill yourself but also other members of your clan or tribe. Writ large in a thermonuclear exchange, revenge killing could theoretically wipe out your entire species. "It makes evolutionary sense to fight and then back off."

Humans have, in a sense, deviated from the evolutionary path by engaging in revenge killings and warfare. They do so because their technical ability to harm one another has outpaced their social and cultural abilities to deal with behavior that might not be so wise, Roscoe surmises. Only in the last 10,000 years of human existence have people evolved from hunters and gatherers with spears to glorified hunters and gatherers with thermo-nuclear weapons.

"We may have nuclear technology, but we still have stone-age brains," Roscoe says. "Our social and political systems are slow to adapt in comparison to the pac

Contact: Susan Young
University of Maine

Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. The curse of the carp
2. Climate change plus human pressure caused large mammal extinctions in late Pleistocene
3. Lycopene slows human prostate tumour growth in mice and combined with vitamin E is even better
4. Most recent common ancestor of all living humans surprisingly recent
5. Wildlife Conservation Society hosts public symposium on human-wildlife diseases
6. Bronfenbrenner book sums up human development
7. No role for simian virus 40 in human pleural mesotheliomas
8. Sugar-coated sea urchin eggs could have sweet implications for human fertility
9. Serotonin metabolites in mollusks suggest pathways for human therapies
10. Wrapping a memory with an experience, capacity for recollection detected in non-human species
11. Viral suspect for amphibian decline traced to human spread through bait

Post Your Comments:

(Date:3/11/2020)... ... March 11, 2020 , ... USARAD ... by Siemens Healthineers and several healthcare VC firms introduces a first of its ... over 100 countries and has caused over 4,000 fatalities to date. Over the ...
(Date:3/5/2020)... SAN DIEGO (PRWEB) , ... March 05, 2020 ... ... Inc. today announced a strategic partnership agreement with Phoenestra GmbH to accelerate Cytonus’ ... biotech company founded in San Diego, California. Phoenestra is a biotech company located ...
(Date:3/5/2020)... ... March 05, 2020 , ... ... Test™ technology . The AlphaSTEM Test™ is the first, and still only, ... Other technologies that attempt to provide information about the number and quality ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2020)... ... February 11, 2020 , ... ... solutions services in North America, today announced that the City of Fort Worth ... its biosolids management needs. Commencing in April of 2020, Synagro will assume operation ...
(Date:2/5/2020)... , ... February 04, 2020 , ... ... for characterizing microbiome populations down to the strain level, has announced a new ... Shoreline Biome’s microbiome kits and other products to companies and research organizations in ...
(Date:2/3/2020)... ... February 03, 2020 , ... Ovation Travel Group ... Travel, Technology Industry Travel and Biotech/Healthcare Industry Travel Indexes. , All of the ... following statistics:, Average airfare price paid Domestically, Internationally ...
(Date:1/28/2020)... ... January 28, 2020 , ... Lifecycle ... to food and beverage manufactures within North America. Both Lifecycle and Midland have ... will allow each company to pool their collective resources and provide the industry ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: