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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Violence in the genes?

Is Human Aggressiveness Part of Our Biology
From: Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News in ENN.com

Human hands evolved so that men could make fists and fight, and not just for manual dexterity, new research finds.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, adds to a growing body of evidence that humans are among the most aggressive and violent animals on the planet.

"With the notable exception of bonobos, great apes are a relatively aggressive group of mammals," lead author David Carrier told Discovery News. "Although some primatologists may argue that chimpanzees are the most aggressive apes, I think the evidence suggests that humans are substantially more violent."

Carrier points out that while chimpanzees physically batter each other more frequently than humans, rape appears to be less common in chimpanzees, and torture and group-against-group forms of violence, such as slavery, are not documented in the animals.

"Chimpanzees are also known to engage in raiding welfare in which one group largely eliminates a neighboring group, but this is not comparable in scope to the genocide that has characterized human history," added Carrier, a University of Utah biology professor.

For this latest study, he and co-author Michael Morgan, a medical student, conducted three experiments. 

First, they analyzed what happened when men, aged from 22 to 50, hit a punching bag as hard as they could. The peak stress delivered to the bag -- the force per area -- was 1.7 to 3 times greater with a fist strike compared with a slap.

Read more at Discovery News.