WUOT: UT’s Gavrilets Discusses Evolution of Human Warfare

Sergey_GavriletsSergey Gavrilets recently spoke with WUOT 91.9 FM about human warfare and how it has evolved over time. Listen to the story here.

Gavrilets, distinguished professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is one of the organizers of a three-day workshop that will explore warfare in human societies and how it has potentially acted as a source of selection for biological and cultural evolution. Forty-two scientists will combine evolutionary theory and mathematical models to develop working hypotheses to answer key questions about between-group conflict, particularly the nature of decentralized warfare—conflicts characterized by leaderless resistance and terrorism.

The UT-based National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis is hosting the workshop, which begins today. Gavrilets, associate director for scientific activities at NIMBioS, is a leading researcher in theoretical and computational evolutionary biology.

A live stream of the workshop is available.

The workshop also will examine psychological mechanisms that evolved under ancestral warfare conditions that may shed light on what motivates people during modern decentralized wars and why people resort to violence in inter-group conflicts. The goal is to better understand the cultural, demographic and ecological conditions that lead to conflict, which may help in predicting when and how conflict will occur.