Human Evolution

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 225–231 | Cite as

Prehuman genocide

  • Mark H. Lund


The striatum which constitutes most of the forebrain of the early lower vertebrates, controls displays, of which aggression is an integral component in ranking, territory, and courtship. The displays persist in all vertebrates, as does the enlarged and modified striatum. Submissive displays controlled killing in conspecific conflicts. Beginning with the growth of the neocortex in mammals during the Cenozoic period, aggression became more complex, culminating in warfare and genocide.

Agonistic/submissive display controls may become inoperative in the chimpanzee, which has the critical amount of intelligence required for genocide, as confirmed by the field observations of Goodall and others.

Key words

genocide warfare chimpanzee striatum displays 


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Copyright information

© International Institute for the Study of Man 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark H. Lund
    • 1
  1. 1.MontclairUSA

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