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  1. Behavioural variation in 172 small-scale societies indicates that social learning is the main mode of human adaptationMathew, Sarah - Proc. R. Soc. B, 2015 - 8 Hypotheses

    Inter-group variation is greater in humans than in any other animal, and scholars continue to debate the cause of this diversity. Two competing explanatory models of human variation emphasize either (1) ecological differences and "evoked" culture or (2) population-level effects of cultural transmission. The former emphasizes mechanisms that operate within a single generation, while the latter emphasizes cumulative cultural history operating over many generations. To test these competing models, the authors measured the relative power of ecological variables as compared to culture history to predict behavioral variation in 172 western North American tribes. Culture history is subdivided into culture phylogeny (based on language phylogeny) and spatial distance.

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  2. Resource scarcity drives lethal aggression among prehistoric hunter-gatherers in central CaliforniaAllen, Mark W. - PNAS, 2016 - 2 Hypotheses

    Previous research into the origins of human violence and warfare has oftentimes been inconclusive and controversial. This paper examines two alternative theories as to the evolution of human violence using archaeological records on sharp force trauma (SFT) and blunt force trauma (BFT). The study is limited to 13 different California ethnolinguistic groups. Researchers find that violence is not predicted by sociopolitical complexity, but rather by environmental productivity. This supports the idea that in contexts of resource scarcity, the perceived benefits to engage in lethal aggression may outweigh perceived costs.

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