Violence and warfare in prehistoric Japan

Letters on Evolutionary and Behavioral Science 8 (1):8-11 (2017)
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Abstract

The origins and consequences of warfare or largescale intergroup violence have been subject of long debate. Based on exhaustive surveys of skeletal remains for prehistoric hunter-gatherers and agriculturists in Japan, the present study examines levels of inferred violence and their implications for two different evolutionary models, i.e., parochial altruism model and subsistence model. The former assumes that frequent warfare played an important role in the evolution of altruism and the latter sees warfare as promoted by social changes induced by agriculture. Our results are inconsistent with the parochial altruism model but consistent with the subsistence model, although the mortality values attributable to violence between hunter-gatherers and agriculturists were comparable.

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