Are Humans Really Naturally Murderous Killers? Recent Study Suggests

First Posted: Sep 30, 2016 05:52 AM EDT

Humans may think that we are at a higher plane compared to other animals, but it seems that in the end, we are still animals - with the added asset of being murderous.

As noted by the National Geographic, the first humans were expected to be as violent as they could be based on their ancestors. The scientists who pored through examples of lethal violence within a species, found that despite the ghastly activity of over four million deaths recorded in over a thousand animal species, lethal violence actually increased over the course of mammal evolution.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature, found that for the most part, only about 0.3 percent of all mammals are said to die due to conflict with their same species, but the number increased sixfold - for primates. Early humans should have about the same rate to line up with the evidence of violence during the Paleolithic era, but this is not the case. The medieval period, for instance, is a total killer, with human-on-human violence responsible for 12 percent of the recorded deaths.

Not that there haven't been any improvements. Today, humans have been killing one another off at 1.33 percent worldwide, and in the least violent parts of the world, homicide rates are as low as 0.01 percent. noted that this study actually backs up Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker's book, "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined," when he said that people are less likely to die a violent death today compared to any other time in history. Back then, his theory was met with a lot of backlash from many intellectuals who said that modern capitalism actually incited people to murder. Still, as the new study indicates, the rise of modern institutions actually greatly reduced violence in contemporary scientists, vindicating Pinker's work in the process.

How do you think modern society treats violence and murder?

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics