Male Aggression and Violence in Human Evolution

Event Dates: 
May 16, 2014 -
1:00pm to 5:30pm
Event Chairs:

Christopher Boehm, University of Southern California
Richard Wrangham, Harvard University

In the last few decades, new sources of evidence have continued to indicate that male violence has played an important role in shaping behavior in the human lineage.  The frequency and nature of such violence varies widely among populations and over time raises questions about the factors responsible for the variation. In the past, much controversy and even some acrimonious debate has occurred over the question of whether humans lived in a state of ancestral peace. The aim of this symposium is to set aside such theories and debates and take a fresh look at the causes and consequences of variation in aggression, both between and within species.  The focus will be on speakers who can critically examine and represent the available evidence from multiple sources, including comparative ethology, ethnology, archaeology, political science, and evolutionary neuroscience.  While the symposium may not come to any definitive conclusions, it should allow for the best interpretation of the current evidence, and help suggest research agendas for the future.

Event Sessions

Media for each talk can be played by clicking on icons in the "Media" column, or by clicking on the individual talk titles below and then the attachment file at the bottom of the page.

Date Media Session Title Speakers
Fri 5/16 File Welcome and Opening Remarks Pascal Gagneux, University of California, San Diego
Richard Wrangham, Harvard University
Fri 5/16 File Warfare and Feuding in Pleistocene Societies Christopher Boehm, University of Southern California
Fri 5/16 File Intergroup Violence: Chimpanzees and Lions Anne Pusey, Duke University
Fri 5/16 File Neuroendocrine Mechanisms Underlying Male Aggression Donald Pfaff, Rockefeller University
Fri 5/16 File Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Male Violence in Prehistory Patricia Lambert, Utah State University
Fri 5/16 File Male Violence Among Ache´ and Hiwi Hunter-Gatherers Kim Hill, Arizona State University
Fri 5/16 File Resource Unpredictability, Socialization and War Carol Ember, Yale University
Fri 5/16 File Violence: What's Culture Got to Do with It? Pauline Wiessner, Arizona State University
Fri 5/16 File The Parallel Evolution of Humanity and Savagery Richard Wrangham, Harvard University
Fri 5/16 File Do Hunter-Gatherers Tell Us About Human Nature? Robert Kelly, University of Wyoming
Fri 5/16 File Wrap Up, Question and Answer, and Closing Remarks Christopher Boehm, University of Southern California
Richard Wrangham, Harvard University