Tag Archives: civilization

Amazonian Tribal Warfare Sheds Light on Modern Violence, Says MU Anthropologist

Developing a shared sense of global community could help reduce major episodes of violence

In the tribal societies of the Amazon forest, violent conflict accounted for 30 percent of all deaths before contact with Europeans, according to a recent study by University of Missouri anthropologist Robert Walker. Understanding the reasons behind those altercations in the Amazon sheds light on the instinctual motivations that continue to drive human groups to violence, as well as the ways culture influences the intensity and frequency of violence.

“The same reasons – revenge, honor, territory and jealousy over women – that fueled deadly conflicts in the Amazon continue to drive violence in today’s world,” said Walker, lead author and assistant professor of anthropology in MU’s College of Arts and Science. “Humans’ evolutionary history of violent conflict among rival groups goes back to our primate ancestors. It takes a great deal of social training and institutional control to resist our instincts and solve disputes with words instead of weapons. Fortunately, people have developed ways to channel those instincts away from actual deadly conflict. For example, sports and video games often involve the same impulses to defeat a rival group.” (more…)

Read More

Earth in 20 Years

The world will face many challenges over the coming decades, not least among them environmental challenges. On the heels of Earth Day, we asked three leading researchers at the U to answer three questions for us in their specialties of sustainable agriculture, environmental justice, and economics and ecology.

Here’s what they had to say:

Jon Foley is the director of the U’s Institute on the Environment, which discovers solutions to Earth’s most pressing environmental problems. (more…)

Read More

What is War Good for? Sparking Civilization, Suggest UCLA Archaeology findings from Peru

Warfare, triggered by political conflict between the fifth century B.C. and the first century A.D., likely shaped the development of the first settlement that would classify as a civilization in the Titicaca basin of southern Peru, a new UCLA study suggests.

Charles Stanish, director of UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, and Abigail Levine, a UCLA graduate student in anthropology, used archaeological evidence from the basin, home to a number of thriving and complex early societies during the first millennium B.C., to trace the evolution of two larger, dominant states in the region: Taraco, along the Ramis River, and Pukara, in the grassland pampas. (more…)

Read More