Siblicide in Humans and Other Species

Catherine A. Salmon

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

 Siblicide in Humans and Other Species

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Sibling conflict is common across a wide variety of species, including humans. It is an expected process because offspring compete for dominance as well as food resources (most common in nonhuman species) and also for parental attention, money, and other personal resources in the case of human children. While most conflict in humans has no long lasting effects, under some circumstances, sibling conflict can turn violent and even result in death, what is commonly referred to as siblicide. While siblicide is quite rare in humans, from an evolutionary perspective, we would expect it to be influenced by some of the same factors as less intense sibling conflict. Such factors include sex of sibling, resource availability, birth spacing, and relatedness. These factors will be discussed with respect to research on sibling conflict and siblicide in human and nonhuman species.

Keywords: parental investment; sibling conflict; parent–offspring conflict; primogeniture

Article.  8552 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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