Aggressive by Nature?

It was generally held for a long time that hunting, the act of stalking live prey and then killing it, contributed a great deal to our natural aggressive tendencies. After all, it seems perfectly natural to imagine how this ruthless ability to assault another living creature would serve our ancestors capture much-needed food. The problem with this idea is that our aggressive nature, which is undeniably real, comes from a much older part of our biological heritage.

The aggressive part of our behavior comes from a much older section of our brain, one that has been in our family line long before primates had even evolved. In fact, it was the development of our highly evolved primate brains that developed in tandem with our ability to hunt. We were able to band together as a group, to hunt far more effectively than we could as individuals. Learning to cooperate was more than a short term advantage, though. This cooperation led to an evolved sense of society, which is the hallmark of culture.

Communication was the most important adaptation from learning to hunt more effectively. From simple noises to more complex sounds to language, we had to develop a way of letting everyone in the hunting pack know that the prey was nearby or that danger lurked ahead. The better we communicated, the better we hunted, and the more likely it was that we would survive. Though we humans sometimes do not act like it, cooperation through language has been one of the greatest advances in all of human evolution. And it was directly related to our time learning to hunt as a group.

A natural byproduct of our evolving brains and societies was our ability to think ahead, plan for attacks, and even make alternate decisions based on the given situation. As we became more successful with these abilities, we were able to use them more effectively. Eventually our heightened intelligence became so evolved that it far surpassed its survival value. Now we are able to use our intelligence in ways our ancestors simply could never have imagined. We can plan ahead as individuals, as nations, and as a species, reflecting on the past, thinking about the present, and planning for the future.


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