Advanced

Family counts : deciding when to murder among the Icelandic Vikings

Palmstierna, Markel; Frangou, Anna; Wallette, Anna LU and Dunbar, Robin (2017) In Evolution and Human Behavior 38(1). p.175-180
Abstract
In small scale societies, lethal attacks on another individual usually invite revenge by the victim's family. We might expect those who perpetrate such attacks to do so only when their own support network (mainly family) is larger than that of the potential victim so as to minimise the risk of retaliation. Using data from Icelandic family sagas, we show that this prediction holds whether we consider biological kin or affinal kin (in-laws): on average, killers had twice as many relatives as their victims. These findings reinforce the importance of kin as a source of implicit protection even when they are not physically present. The results also support Hughes' (1988) claim that affines are biological kin because of the shared genetic... (More)
In small scale societies, lethal attacks on another individual usually invite revenge by the victim's family. We might expect those who perpetrate such attacks to do so only when their own support network (mainly family) is larger than that of the potential victim so as to minimise the risk of retaliation. Using data from Icelandic family sagas, we show that this prediction holds whether we consider biological kin or affinal kin (in-laws): on average, killers had twice as many relatives as their victims. These findings reinforce the importance of kin as a source of implicit protection even when they are not physically present. The results also support Hughes' (1988) claim that affines are biological kin because of the shared genetic interests they have in the offspring generation. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Kinship, Affines, Murder, Icelandic Vikings, Alliances
in
Evolution and Human Behavior
volume
38
issue
1
pages
6 pages
publisher
Elsevier Inc.
external identifiers
  • scopus:85005939418
  • wos:000395967500003
ISSN
1090-5138
DOI
10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.09.001
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
399f2f20-f11f-4f3a-ad8c-ddef5e59d93d
date added to LUP
2017-01-30 12:07:23
date last changed
2018-01-30 03:00:21
@article{399f2f20-f11f-4f3a-ad8c-ddef5e59d93d,
  abstract     = {In small scale societies, lethal attacks on another individual usually invite revenge by the victim's family. We might expect those who perpetrate such attacks to do so only when their own support network (mainly family) is larger than that of the potential victim so as to minimise the risk of retaliation. Using data from Icelandic family sagas, we show that this prediction holds whether we consider biological kin or affinal kin (in-laws): on average, killers had twice as many relatives as their victims. These findings reinforce the importance of kin as a source of implicit protection even when they are not physically present. The results also support Hughes' (1988) claim that affines are biological kin because of the shared genetic interests they have in the offspring generation.},
  author       = {Palmstierna, Markel and Frangou, Anna and Wallette, Anna and Dunbar, Robin},
  issn         = {1090-5138},
  keyword      = {Kinship,Affines,Murder,Icelandic Vikings,Alliances},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {175--180},
  publisher    = {Elsevier Inc.},
  series       = {Evolution and Human Behavior},
  title        = {Family counts : deciding when to murder among the Icelandic Vikings},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.09.001},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2017},
}