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Horgan, in his article aims at disproving a view held by other anthropologists. In the first sections of the article, the author highlights views held by other (contrasting anthropologists). The former class of argues that the fighting nature of the chimpanzees and their close relatives is innate but not acquired. This school of thought further adds that since the beginning of time, both chimpanzees and humans have been using their fighting skills either to expand their "territories" or access power. A number of examples have been given by the author to support the fact that the fighting nature of humans and Chimpanzees is inborn and not acquired through nurture as claimed by modern anthropologists. One of the examples given by earlier anthropologist include an observation by a group of researchers who observed Chimpanzees in Uganda for a period of 14 years and realized that it is actually a fact that the fighting or aggressive nature of Chimpanzees is innate.
In the last sections of the article, the author brings in his arguments to support his theory that the fighting nature of humans and chimpanzees is not innate but acquired depending with certain circumstances that may prevail at any given time. John Horgan notes that it is actually a fact that Chimpanzees and other primates are closely related in several way. However, there is only a little evidence that the fighting nature of hominids is innate. To support his theory, the author takes us back in time, the beginning of time when humans were only hunters and gatherers and when their territories were vast and required no expansion. At this time, according to the author, human beings or the Homo sapiens lived without need for warfare. Further, the author uses the examples of Bonobos who are close relatives of chimpanzees (and man) to support his argument. He finds that the bonobos are peaceful and not aggressive as it would be the case if classical anthropologists' views were accepted.
I personally found this article very relevant when compared with what has already been done in class. It is a fact that this article has a one to one correspondence or is directly related to the physical anthropology. It talks of human and primates and how the behavior of these is related to the theory of evolution. Evidence used by different anthropologists (quoted in the article) has relied on research and findings that can be found in fossils or remains of man and other primates. Such fossils include such things as bones. Other terms learned in class such as homo, hominoid and Homo erectus and Homo sapiens which form the basis of physical anthropology have also been used. More importantly, the fact that the article highlights the behavior and reasons for such behavior in both human beings and primates (such as chimpanzees, Bonobos, Ardipithecus ramidus,) is a clear indication that the author had physical anthropology in mind.
In addition, the mention of certain primates is an indication that the autor meant his article to dwell on the field of physical anthropology. The mention of hominoids (hominidae species which comprises of humans, orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas) is another perfect indication that the author had the idea of physical anthropology in mind. I really believe that any author who leaves out any of the four members of the homipnidae species may not be fully concerned with physical anthropology. The reason why I have argued this way is because I have learnt in class that physical anthropology may not exist as a subject without the mention of man and all the other primates.
In class, we learnt how primates and human beings are related. In the article, the author has used his space to show that a form of behavior found in the primates is most likely to be found in human beings and if it lacks in either of the two, then it is most likely to miss in the other. This is fact that has been supported by two opposing schools of thought that the author has highlighted in the article. The classical school of thought argued that both human beings and primate's aggressive nature is innate. Modern anthropologists, on the other hand argue that both human beings may display aggression traits but not because their innate nature but perhaps because of nurture. Physical anthropology is one of the misunderstood branches of anthropology. Anthr4oplogy generally refers to "study of man". "Physical anthropology" is syno]nymous with biological anthropology.
This term refers to the study of growth of man in relation to primates (such as the chimpanzees and Bonobos). This branch of anthropology cannot exist without the support of fossil evidence. John Horgan understood this fact and that's why he has used the knowledge of bones collected by researchers and archeologists to support his thesis. One of the major concepts used in physical anthropology is that of using past fossil evidence to draw conclusions. Research has for a long time been used by anthropologists to come up with evidence to support their theories and arguments. All this facts have been applied in the article making it fully relevant to physical anthropology and more importantly to what we halve already covered in class.