Humans Are Genetically Predisposed to Kill Each Other

A new study of 1,024 mammal species has determined which animals are the most vicious killers of their own kind. Killer whales perhaps? Pit bulls maybe? For the answer, just look in the mirror.

HumanSkull-LowRes“Step back and view our species objectively from the outside, the way a zoologist would carefully observe any other animal, or see us the way every other creature perceives human beings. The brutal reality could not be more evident or more horrifying. We are the most relentless yet oblivious killers on Earth.

This week Maria Gomez and colleagues, Zoologists working in Spain, published the results of their in-depth research in a report in the journal Nature on the evolutionary roots of the human propensity to kill their own kind. The researchers compiled data on lethal violence within 1,024 species of mammals, and the results verify my description of us. The analysis shows that deaths caused by other members of the same species is responsible for 0.3% of all deaths on average for all mammals, but the rate of lethal violence among Homo sapiens is 7 times higher. Together with our primate ancestors we stand out as aberrations in our penchant to kill our own kind.

All behavior is the product of the brain, and the brain is a product of genetics and the environment. To read the full article see:  Psychology Today  https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-brain/201610/humans-are-genetically-predisposed-kill-each-other

 

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Douglas Fields

About Douglas Fields

R. Douglas Fields is Chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section at the National Institutes of Health, NICHD, in Bethesda, Maryland, and author of the new book about sudden anger and aggression “Why We Snap,” published by Dutton, and a popular book about glia “The Other Brain” published by Simon and Schuster. Dr. Fields is a developmental neurobiologist with a long-standing interest in brain development and plasticity, neuron-glia interactions, and the cellular mechanism of memory. He received degrees from UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, and UC San Diego. After postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford and Yale Universities he joined the NIH in 1987. Dr. Fields also enjoys writing about neuroscience for the general public. In addition to serving on editorial boards of several neuroscience journals, he serves as scientific advisor for Odyssey and Scientific American Mind magazines. He has written for Outside Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, and he publishes regularly for The Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and Scientific American on-line. Outside the lab he enjoys building guitars and rock climbing.

The opinions stated in the blog are the personal opinion of the author and not those of the federal government.

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