The importance of warfare for human evolution is hotly debated in anthropology. Some authors hypothesize that warfare emerged at least 200,000–100,000 years BP, was frequent, and significantly shaped human social evolution. Other authors claim that warfare is a recent phenomenon, linked to the emergence of agriculture, and mostly explained by cultural rather than evolutionary forces. Here I highlight and critically evaluate six controversial points on the evolutionary bases of warfare. I argue that cultural and evolutionary explanations on the emergence of warfare are not alternative but analyze biological diversity at two distinct levels. An evolved propensity to act aggressively toward outgroup individuals may emerge irrespective of
whether warfare appeared early/late during human evolution. Finally, I argue that lethal violence and aggression toward outgroup individuals are two linked but distinct phenomena, and that war and peace are complementary and should not always be treated as two mutually exclusive behavioural responses.
University of Lincoln, College of Social Science
Bonaventura Majolo, University of Lincoln, School of Psychology