Hypothèses sur la violence :

– La violence a toujours été présente dans l’histoire humaine, à des niveaux élevés.
– La violence n’a pas toujours été présente dans l’histoire humaine à des niveaux élevés, notamment chez les chasseurs-cueilleurs.
– La violence a toujours été présente, mais de manière très variable en fonction des circonstances, des lieux géographiques.
– La violence n’est apparue chez les chasseurs-cueilleurs qu’avec le contact avec les états, les colonisateurs, ou des sociétés néolithiques.
– La violence apparaît ou augmente significativement avec le néolithique et la notion de propriété, ou la sédentarité, les stocks.
– La violence apparaît ou augmente significativement avec l’accroissement de la densité de population et/ou la colonisation des dernières frontières (plus moyen de s’étendre plus loin).
– La violence des sociétés de chasseurs-cueilleurs ou des sociétés néolithiques a fortement diminué avec l’intervention des états.
– La domestication de l’homme a tendance à faire diminuer son potentiel de violence.
– La sophistication des armements a tendance à faire augmenter le potentiel meurtrier.
– Des taux d’homicide/violence élevés ne sont pas incompatibles avec une impression de paix au quotidien dans de toutes petites sociétés.

Proving Communal Warfare Among Hunter-Gatherers: The Quasi-Rousseauan Error
Azar Gat
Evolutionnary anthropology, 2015


High adult mortality among Hiwi hunter-gatherers: Implications for human evolution
Hill et al.
Journal of human evolution, 2007

The next most frequent causes of death to infants were infanticide/homicide and disease, each of which accounted for almost 30% of all deaths and took place at a rate of 79 deaths per 1000 infant years at risk. Sex differences were notable, with the infanticide rate four times higher for female infants than for male infants (123 vs. 27 per 1000, respectively, p = 0.003).

Lactation, ovulation, infanticide and women’s work : a study of hunter-gatherer population regulation
Richard B. Lee

Cliquer pour accéder à TSpace0104.pdf

Those who see infanticide as the primary regulating mechanism and those who credit suppression of ovulation by lactation have differed over the relative weight of each mechanism in determining family size. Birdsell (1968) has postulated a 15-50% rate of infanticide for all human births in the Pleistocene, and notes that « medical science has not yielded accurate information on the relationships between nursing and ovulation needed to fix the figure more accurately. »

Note that unlike the present theory, Binford points to infanticide as the key mechanism of hunter-gatherer population control. Sedentarization in his view triggers population growth through a reduction of infanticide and not through a shortening of the birth interval. Birdsell (1968)also sees infanticide as the key mechanism, arguing that « difficulties of nursing and mobility in the Pleistocene may have made necessary the killing of 15-50% of children born, since lactation alone would not have provided sufficient spacing of births to provide equilibrium » (p.243). My own view is that such a level of infanticide is not a necessary

Biosocial Mechanisms of Population Regulation component of hunter-gatherer population control. (It should be added, however, that this low level could easily rise should the need come about.) Under most foraging conditions the !Kung are able to maintain very low fertility through long birth spacing with a rate of infanticide of less than 2% (Howell 1976b). In fact, we are now in a position to specify precisely how long the birth intervals are under hunting and gathering conditions and how these birth intervals change when the !Kung settle down to village life.

the actual interval between live births continues to be well over 3 years for nomadic !Kung even under present circumstances, and that this long birth spacing is achieved without recourse to infanticide or to other forms ofcontraception. Howell recorded only six cases of infanticide in the 500 live births to the 165 women in the Dobe !Kung population (1976a).

Infanticide: an anthropological analysis, In Kohl, Marvin (ed.). Infanticide and the Value of Life.
Laila Williamson,
Prometheus  books, 1978

The population of the Dobe area !Kung. In Kalahari hunter-gatherers,
Howell, N.
ed. R. B. Lee and I. DeVore, pp. 137-51. Cambridge, Mass.: HarvardUniv. Press, 1976

Violence chez les chimpanzés

Lethal aggression in Pan is better explained by adaptive strategies than human impacts
Wilson et al.
Nature, 2014

Our data include 152 killings (n = 58 observed, 41 inferred, and 53 suspected killings) by chimpanzees in 15 communities and one suspected killing by bonobos. We found that males were the most frequent attackers (92% of participants) and victims (73%); most killings (66%) involved intercommunity attacks; and attackers greatly outnumbered their victims (median 8:1 ratio).

Sexual coercion by male chimpanzees shows that female choice may be more apparent than real
Muller et al.
Behavioral ecology and sociobiology, 2011

Comparative rates of violence in chimpanzees and humans
Wrangham et al.
Primates, 2006