Headhunting and Warfare: Evidence from Austronesia

Elsevier Published In Pages: ??
By Gershman, Boris, Mumladze, Tinatin


Why did headhunting- the practice of taking human heads for ritualistic reasons- emerge in many societies? Through phylogenetic comparative analyses of Austronesian societies, the authors find that headhunting developed as a cultural response to frequent inter-tribal conflict and warfare. When warfare declined, the frequency of headhunting did as well.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
Pulotu databaseOther researchersResearchers selected 129 Austronesian societies for which data on headhunting and warfare were available.
Gray et al. (2009) phylogenetic treesOther researchersResearchers matched sample from Pulotu to the trees.

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:isanaraja