Researchers from Cambridge University have found earliest evidence of violent human conflict fueled by greed just like modern warfare
It appears humans have not changed their behavior from their early evolutionary period. Humans claim to have made giant leaps in progress from the Stone Age to today’s Digital Age. We now describe this current civilization as the greatest ever in human history.
However, as we keep praising ourselves for the progress made, we’ve forgotten to look at some of the vices we still carry from the past into the present. Probably, we’re afraid to face reality and correct our weaknesses.
Although we call ourselves modern man—implying we are a civilized people; the truth is our behavior is no different from the Stone Age Man. We kill ourselves en mass for no apparent reason other than for greed and vanity.
Currently, the United States is parading around the world, claiming to fight terrorism. But if you subjected the so-called war on terror to close scrutiny, you would soon realize it’s nothing more than a pursuance for domination and control – to plunder people’s resources. Many of the Western-led wars in the Middle East were fuelled by greed and selfishness.
The United States illegally invaded Iraq in 2003. The claim about Weapons of Mass Destruction in the country were later found to be completely false. The single most important truth about the invasion is oil. Can we count the number of barrels of oil the United States and its Western allies stole from Iraq?
In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was murdered by the help of the Western military alliance, NATO. Even ex-President Barack Obama, who played a very instrumental role in the death of Gaddafi, later blamed his Western cohorts for stealing Libya’s resources. Obama openly told The Atlantic magazine in 2016 that former British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who both supported the bombings in Libya, did so in their parochial selfish interests. According to Obama, Mr Cameron became distracted by a range of other things. For Sarkozy, Obama said he promoted French business interests in Libya, benefiting from the spoils of the war, especially in the oil reserves of the country. This is Obama speaking. It tells you the numerous violent conflicts we are currently witnessing are driven by greed. The world today still runs on the survival of the fittest theory, coined by Herbert Spencer. Vulnerable and weaker nations are oppressed and exploited by stronger and richer ones. Pathetic.
However, all these current vices that humans are committing against each other are only a reflection of the past. Researchers from Cambridge University’s Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies have found evidence confirming the earliest violent human conflict was driven by robbery and greed.
The researchers wrote in the journal Nature that a resource-rich fertile lagoon, known as Nataruk, in Eastern Africa’s Kenya, was the setting for humanity’s earliest known violent conflict; resulting in the brutal killing of over two dozen prehistoric men, women and children.
According to the researchers, the incident happened over 10,000 years ago. Archeologists unearthed the Nataruk site in 2012. The site was carefully excavated and examined using radiocarbon to pin down the date of the massacre. This technique measures half-life decay of a radioactive isotope (of carbon) found exclusively in organic material. Researchers also used sedimentary rock found near the remains to establish chronology.
The researchers studied the victim’s fossilized bones to determine if this violence could be a precursor to what we know today as warfare. They concluded that the conflict left at least 27 people dead, and occurred sometime between 9,500 to 10,500 years ago, in the early years following the last Ice Age.
“The Nataruk massacre may have resulted from an attempt to seize resources – territory, women, children, food stored in pots – whose value was similar to those of later food-producing agricultural societies, among whom violent attacks on settlements became part of life,” said Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr, lead author of the study.
The researchers said because Nataruk was very fertile, full of fresh water and fish, it was of a great value to those who controlled it. This, the researchers said, made the area a potential target for rival prehistoric wanderers—just like how Libya and Iraq (and now Syria and Iran) became targets of the West due to their vast oil reserves.
Along with the human remains, researchers also discovered pottery, which suggests that inhabitants stored their food—another reason for outside aggressors to pillage their settlement. Among the evidence that tells the story of this conflict was black volcanic rock known as obsidian. This igneous rock was used to make weapons like spear tips or arrow heads, but was rarely found in areas like Nataruk. The discovery of this hardened molten rock among the remains points to an attack from the outside, the researchers revealed.
“Obsidian is rare in other late Stone Age sites of this area in West Turkana, which may suggest that the two groups confronted at Nataruk had different home ranges. This would extend the history of the same underlying socio-economic conditions that characterize other instances of early warfare: a more settled, materially richer way of life. However, Nataruk may simply be evidence of a standard antagonistic response to an encounter between two social groups at that time,” explained Dr Mirazon Lahr.
According to the researchers, 12 of the skeletons were found intact and 10 of those paint a vivid picture of the massacre. The victims suffered from blunt-force trauma to the head, broken bones throughout their bodies, and fatal injuries caused by projectile weapons.
We acknowledge sourcing part of the article from the Observer.