Hermes Solenzol Ph.D., I did what investigation I could into the links you provided. It would have been a lot more functional to have actually quoted from them, but whatever. I read the abstract of Anthropology, Archeology and the origin of war.

I’m just shaking my head in disbelief! First of all, there is no, zero, zilch archeological evidence of war before 14K BCE and you haven’t actually provided anything that says differently and neither has he or the other things you cited. There may be a debate, but that doesn’t mean that it’s based in anything solid. Prehistoric warfare reiterates that the earliest evidence of war is only 13K-14K years old.

Second of all this guy Thorpe bases his theory around the Yanomamö,who are not a hunter-gatherer tribe and haven’t been one for many hundreds of years. It’s just bad science. Anthropologist Dr. Peter Gray says this:

Even today some people who should know better confuse primitive agricultural societies with hunter-gatherer societies and argue, from such confused evidence, that hunter-gatherers were violent and warlike. For example, one society often referred to in this mistaken way is that of the Yanomami, of South America’s Amazon, made famous by Napoleon Chagnon in his book subtitled The fierce people. Chagnon tried to portray the Yanomami as representative of our pre-agricultural ancestors. But Chagnon knew well that the Yanomami were not hunter-gatherers and had not been for centuries. They did some hunting and gathering, but got the great majority of their calories from bananas and plantains, which they planted, cultivated, and harvested. Moreover, far from being untouched by modern cultures, these people had been repeatedly subjected to slave raids and genocide at the hands of truly vicious Spanish, Dutch, and Portuguese invaders.[1] No wonder they had become a bit “fierce” themselves.

Current hunter-gatherers aren’t violent or warlike. Just the opposite. You are the one who is not looking at the actual data but is searching for confirmation bias based in what appears to be quite shoddy research.

If just one anthropologist had reported all this, we might assume that he or she was a starry-eyed romantic who was seeing things that weren’t really there, or was a liar. But many anthropologists, of all political stripes, regarding many different hunter-gatherer cultures, have told the same general story. There are some variations from culture to culture, of course, and not all of the cultures are quite as peaceful and fully egalitarian as others, but the generalities are the same. One anthropologist after another has been amazed by the degree of equality, individual autonomy, indulgent treatment of children, cooperation, and sharing in the hunter-gatherer culture that he or she studied. When you read about “warlike primitive tribes,” or about indigenous people who held slaves, or about tribal cultures with gross inequalities between men and women, you are not reading about band hunter-gatherers.

The first tools were from about 3.3 million years ago although they were barely recognizable as tools. The Oldowan tools from about 2.6 million years ago are choppers, scrapers, and pounders (not spears or weapons). The oldest undisputed evidence of hunting is from only 1.7 million years ago. “The oldest undisputed evidence for hunting dates to the Early Pleistocene, consistent with the emergence and early dispersal of Homo erectus, about 1.7 million years ago.”

We did not always hunt. In fact, there’s a million-year gap in there where humans made tools, but not hunting tools.

Polyamory, including polyandry, has been known and documented around the world for thousands of years. You deciding that it’s brand new doesn’t change that. You deciding that humans have always hunted doesn’t change the archeological record. You and other people deciding that humans have always been warlike doesn’t change the fact that there is no archeological evidence of that. It’s quite a disturbing position for a scientist to take — to just decide how things are in contravention of the data.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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