Spell with flickr

From Spell with flickr by Erik Kastner:

v O l U - peugeot t- i P1060841

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Speaking of lethal raids, as we were below, there’s still a traditional English prayer to ward off Vikings: “From the fury of the Northman, Good Lord deliver us.”

Lethal raids are an ancient tradition

From “Why they kill“:

Finding the weakling

In lethal raids, a party of allied males collectively seeks a vulnerable neighbor, assesses the probability of success, and conducts a surprise attack. This coalitionary violence has been favored by Darwinian natural selection. Even during the brief 150,000 years of Homo sapiens’ history– 90 percent of which they spent as hunter-gatherers– men have been ruthlessly violent. Males evolved brains that allow them to assess and seek opportunities to impose such deadly violence. This complex behavior arose in our ape ancestors prior to the chimp/human split.

In 1974, a field worker in Jane Goodall’s preserve in Africa watched a group of male chimpanzees– a species with whom we share 98 percent of our DNA– come together and with coordination, stealth, and surprise, move through a neighboring community to find and kill a lone victim. Since then, such violent raids have been observed repeatedly. Chimpanzees do not engage in one-on-one killing: All murderous violence occurs in male-bonded coalitions. This behavior offers the strongest evidence that murderous violence existed in our common ancestor and has remained in the two separate developmental trajectories, chimp and man, over the next five to seven million years.

Lethal raids reflect the essence of primitive war; 20 to 40 percent of male deaths in the few still-remaining hunter-gatherer societies are at the hands of other men. The equivalent death rate– if the world’s population were still hunter-gatherers– would be two billion war deaths in the 20th century alone.

Why? What’s happened? How could such deadly behavior ensure or enhance survival? Why would that be part of human nature?

It is, literally, a long story.

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