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Human nature’s dark side helped us spread across the world

Posted on 9 December 2015

New research by Dr Penny Spikins suggests that betrayals of trust were the missing link in understanding the rapid spread of our own species around the world.

Dr Penny Spikins, of the University’s Department of Archaeology, says that the speed and character of human dispersals changed significantly around 100,000 years ago. She suggests that as commitments to others became more essential to survival, and human groups became ever more motivated to identify and punish those who cheat, the ‘dark’ side of human nature also developed. Moral disputes motivated by broken trust and a sense of betrayal became more frequent and motivated early humans to put distance between them and their rivals.

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