More than often, we’re being told that humans are evil because they’re the only species on this planet that kill their kind. Science can tell you how far from the truth this is. While it’s true that humans can be murderous savages, it’s not as if we’re the only species to kill our kind. Not only that but our ever evolving civilization has been proved to the decrease of human murder.
First of all, mammals tend to be more murderous than all other animal species on Earth, and our primate cousins are certainly among the worst. Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain have used what they call “root violence” to statistically determine how murderous the early men were. The numbers were impressive, to say the least, being at around 20 killings per 1,000 deaths. And then it got worse.
By the time of the Middle Ages, we were reaping each other away at 120 killings per 1,000 deaths. Keep that in mind next time you’re watching Game of Thrones (which we all know, is heavily inspired by Medieval times). But as we evolved even more and as the Black Plague almost accomplished what we couldn’t, we were suddenly met by a newfound love of art and science.
The Renaissance led to a slow but sure decrease of human murder, thus boosting evolution in the right direction again. Today, considering genocides, terrorism, and serial killers, we only have a rate of 13 murders per 1,000 deaths.
Still, it’s not as if we couldn’t learn a thing or two from other species. Killer whales, for example, have a murder rate that’s close to zero, making them unworthy of their fearsome name. But what about fluffy and adorable lemurs or chinchillas? 100 killings per 1,000 deaths. Still, not as bad as humans in the Middle Ages, right?
So next time you think that the world has gone haywire, please remember that we live in times more peaceful than our ancestors have ever hoped to achieve. We’ve still got a long way to go, and our world may not yet be safe from global warming or even nuclear annihilation. But as far as actually murdering one other, we’re doing it less, at least statistically.
Image source: Wikipedia
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