What can evolution tell us about domestic violence? Two researchers in the US suggest such violence has ancient origins and that establishing evolution’s role could help to better identify those at risk. Others argue that the research makes simplistic assumptions, and warn that some people will interpret the research as an excuse for violence.
Each year more than 500,000 women in the US alone report to the police violent attacks by current or former male partners. There is a reason why domestic violence is so widespread, says David Buss, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas in Austin: it carries a selective advantage, tied with reproductive success. In other words, men who are violent are trying to make sure that their partner has his child and not another man’s.
Buss has previously suggested that jealousy is an adaptation to keep couples together.
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