Hunting Hypothesis

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Robert Ardey, has written several books that have introduced many people to a popularized version of evolutionary theory (Baron, 1994). He argued that natural selection produced a species of hunters: “We attacked, or we starved. We dared or we were selected out. We adapted, anatomically and physiologically, to hunt” (Munger, 1971). The hunting hypothesis is the hypothesis that human evolution was primarily influenced by the activity of hunting, and that the activity of hunting distinguished human ancestors from other primates. This hunting “nature according”, to Ardey, is the basis for human aggressiveness (Baron, 1994). Two developments that derived from the human need to “Kill for a living”(Munger, 1971) contributed to eventual participation in social violence and warfare (Baron, 1994).

“First, to hunt effectively in a group, humans developed language which allowed communication of concepts such as “friend” and “enemy” or “us” and “them”- concepts that serve to justify aggressive actions against others” (Baron, 1994). Second, the development of relatively long-distance weapons, such as bow and arrow (instead of clubs and rocks), allowed humans to become more efficient “armed predators” (Baron, 1994). Ardey clarified that the important effect of the discovery of such weapons: “When we got this thing that meant the offensive, it was so much easier [to kill], we turned into different beings in violent ways” (Munger, 1971).

Male supremacy in physical aggression is one of the favorite examples of evolutionary psychologists (Fischer, 2001). All over the world, men are more violent than are women (Fischer, 2001). The basic premise of evolutionary theory is that men are more aggressive because they have to compete with other men in order to get sexual access to women (Fischer, 2001). Because of men’s greater variance in reproductive fitness, they have inherited psychological mechanisms that dispose them with “risky competitive tactics” that have shown to be adapted in human evolutionary history (Fischer, 2001) The evolutionary argument thus basically comes down to the idea that aggression has been more functional for men in the human evolutionary past than it has been for women (Fischer, 2001). It serves men because it enables them to defeat their rivals and secure the possession of women (Fischer, 2001). The major general cause of anger has been described as the perceived wrongdoing by others (Fischer, 2001). What men are concerned with and ready to defend with force is their status in a group, and their reputation in the eyes of their fellow mates (Fischer, 2001). This implies that aggression is not an automatic, instinctive response, but controlled by immediate social influences (Fischer, 2001).

Example / Application - Real-life

Violence against women has been increasing lately, but what we do not see as much here in the US is happening a lot in other parts of the world. Within one week three women were murdered in Guantanamo, Cuba, two were stabbed in El Salvador, and an average of 30 women die daily in Latin America from this cause. The violence includes results in bodily, sexual, or physiological injury as well as threats, denial of freedom, and even death. The people that are committing these crimes are actually the ones they trust and love the most, their husbands. The reasons for these crimes are drug abuse, cohabitation after marriage, women being the breadwinner, and jealousy.

The violence that these men are committing against their wives has a lot to do with aggression. The way that these men express their aggression is not through words, but it is actually with violence which does not exactly deal with the hunting hypothesis. The weapons like the hunting hypothesis states is what makes these men powerful against these women and brings out more rage against them and that is what causes harm to them. Most of these weapons are not made by themselves, but they are man made and the fact that they were created does help create violence. Part of evolutionary theory stated that these men would go into violent acts with other men in order to protect and keep their women from being taken away from them as their mates. In this case the men found out that these women might have been committing some sort of infidelity against them so, the rage went towards the women instead of the men that they were seeing. The words in which these people communicate with each other also has to do with the hunting hypothesis because without communication of any sort they would have never gotten together or showed any type of verbal aggressiveness with each other.

Example / Application - Columbine

Two teenagers in Denver, Colorado killed thirteen people and themselves at Columbine High School about ten years ago. Their attack was something that was planned with bombs that were wired so badly that they did not explode so they moved on to shooting people. They hoped to kill everyone including their friends. Ardey stated in his view on Hunting Hypothesis was that humans killed for a living. Not only that humans were able to make a language in which we could communicate with each other and then we were able to make weapons. As in the Columbine shooting, these kids would go about their day doing normal things like having after school jobs, taking advance classes and fooling everyone that they were normal. In reality these kids were making bombs behind their backs with the money that they were saving. Not only had they planned to murder these people that are their peers because they were the outcasts, they never really had friends, and they never really got invited to go to social things with the rest of their school mates.

This relates to the whole Hunting Hypothesis theory because through language we get to communicate with each other on whom we will be friends with and who will be our enemies. These kids were the victims of a person that did not want to be friends with them and that is when they felt aggression, because no one seemed to like them. They then became friends with each other and planned to take out their aggression in the only way they knew how which is through violence. What made them superior and successful was with what they were armed with. They had guns and they had bombs. Bombs which they figured out how to make and created with their own two hands at their houses and used them against everyone they knew. Therefore Columbine does relate to hunting hypothesis in the fact that they used what Ardey said that caused aggression which was language and the use of weapons.

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