Violence Across Animals and Within Early Hominins

Hogan M. Sherrow

in The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Violence, Homicide, and War

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738403
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Violence Across Animals and Within Early Hominins


Violence is common among animal populations, but the term is rarely used in modern behavioral ecology studies and is instead typically reserved for aberrant human behaviors. Despite this, there are virtually no animal populations in which violence, to some degree, has not been observed. Instead, organisms have elaborate behaviors that allow them to mitigate violence when it does occur or attempt to avoid it all together. Here I review two separate, but not mutually exclusive, views on the evolution of violence across animals. I then characterize violence across animals, with special emphasis on apes, including humans. Finally, I present a model for violence in our earliest hominin ancestors.

Keywords: violence; evolution; resource competition; coalitions

Article.  14028 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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