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posted by janrinok on Thursday March 16 2023, @03:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the turning-ploughshares-into-swords dept.

Violence and warfare were widespread in many Neolithic communities across Northwest Europe:

Of the skeletal remains of more than 2300 early farmers from 180 sites dating from around 8000 – 4000 years ago to, more than one in ten displayed weapon injuries, bioarchaeologists found.

Contrary to the view that the Neolithic era was marked by peaceful cooperation, the team of international researchers say that in some regions the period from 6000BC to 2000BC may be a high point in conflict and violence with the destruction of entire communities.

The findings also suggest the rise of growing crops and herding animals as a way of life, replacing hunting and gathering, may have laid the foundations for formalised warfare.

[...] More than ten per cent showed damage potentially caused by frequent blows to the head by blunt instruments or stone axes. Several examples of penetrative injuries, thought to be from arrows, were also found.

Some of the injuries were linked to mass burials, which could suggest the destruction of entire communities, the researchers say.

Journal Reference:
Linda Fibiger, Torbjörn Ahlström, Christian Meyer, and Martin Smith, Conflict, violence, and warfare among early farmers in Northwestern Europe [open], PNAS, 2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2209481119


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @02:20AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @02:20AM (#1296607)
    My theory is distance running in humans evolved more from the needs of war than from the need to chase down animals. Only incompetent hunters or kids trying to "prove themselves" would be running for hours chasing animals. Distance walking and tracking animals, on the other hand makes sense for hunting.

    Long distance running evolving makes more sense when the predator and prey are the same species. After a certain minimum speed there's not much evolutionary pressure to get faster when both predator and prey are the same species.

    Whereas being able to run till the sun sets and/or you can hide makes a difference. Same for being able to run far away BEFORE the "predators" come to kill/enslave everyone.
  • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Friday March 17 2023, @03:13AM (1 child)

    by Reziac (2489) on Friday March 17 2023, @03:13AM (#1296619) Homepage

    Probably not. Needing to run down prey happens a lot more often, because you don't get attacked every day, but you need to eat every day.

    And the speedy males might outrun an attacking tribe, but the females (who for the age-of-interest would mostly be pregnant) mostly cannot, and then your speedy males are replaced in the gene pool by those who ran slower, but fast enough to catch 'em a woman.

    --
    And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @06:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 17 2023, @06:03AM (#1296644)

      Needing to run down prey happens a lot more often

      False. Most human hunter gatherer tribes don't run down prey. They use their brains to get their prey in other more efficient and safer ways.