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Commun Integr Biol. 2011 Mar;4(2):163-70. doi: 10.4161/cib.4.2.14320.

The society of our "out of Africa" ancestors (I): The migrant warriors that colonized the world.

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IZB; University of Bern; Bern, Switzerland.


The "out of Africa" hypothesis proposes that a small group of Homo sapiens left Africa 80,000 years ago, spreading the mitochondrial haplotype L3 throughout the Earth.1-10 Little effort has been made to try to reconstruct the society and culture of the tribe that left Africa to populate the rest of the world.1 Here, I find that hunter-gatherers that belong to mitochondrial haplotypes L0, L1 and L2 do not have a culture of ritualized fights. In contrast to this, almost all L3 derived hunter-gatherers have a more belligerent culture that includes ritualized fights such as wrestling, stick fights or headhunting expeditions. This appears to be independent of their environment because ritualized fights occur in all climates, from the tropics to the arctic. There is also a correlation between mitochondrial haplotypes and warfare propensity or the use of murder and suicide to resolve conflicts. The data implicate that the original human population outside Africa is descended from only two closely related sub-branches that practiced ritual fighting and had a higher propensity towards warfare and the use of murder for conflict resolution. This warfare culture may have given the out of Africa migrants a competitive advantage to colonize the world. But it could also have crucially influenced the subsequent history of The Earth. In the future, it would be interesting to see how we could further reconstruct the society and culture of the "Out of Africa Tribe."


haplotypes; human behaviour; human evolution; human genetics; hunter; out of Africa; ritual fights; supercompetitors; warfare

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