Gene Expression

War and the evolution of belligerence and bravery:

Tribal war occurs when a coalition of individuals use force to seize reproduction-enhancing resources, and it may have affected human evolution. Here, we develop a population-genetic model for the coevolution of costly male belligerence and bravery when war occurs between groups of individuals in a spatially subdivided population. Belligerence is assumed to increase an actor’s group probability of trying to conquer another group. An actor’s bravery is assumed to increase his group’s ability to conquer an attacked group. We show that the selective pressure on these two traits can be substantial even in groups of large size, and that they may be driven by two independent reproduction-enhancing resources: additional mates for males and additional territory (or material resources) for females. This has consequences for our understanding of the evolution of intertribal interactions, as hunter-gatherer societies are well known to have frequently raided neighbouring groups from whom they appropriated territory, goods and women.

No time to read it right now, but a follow up to my post War, rape and group selection.


  1. #1 Arcane
    August 30, 2008

    Based upon the free preview, I don’t think the authors have a very firm understanding of the causes of war (ie, pretty much anything), but it looks interesting nonetheless.

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