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The killer ape theory or killer ape hypothesis is the theory that war and interpersonal aggression was the driving force behind human evolution. It was originated by Raymond Dart; it was later notably developed by Robert Ardrey in his book African Genesis.

According to the killer ape theory, the ancestors of humans were distinguished from other primate species by their greater aggressiveness. Furthermore, according to the theory, this aggression remains within humanity, which retains many murderous instincts.

The theory gained notoriety for suggesting that the urge to do violence was a fundamental part of human psychology.

The theory is not widely accepted among anthropologists today.

References in pop cultureEdit

This theory can be seen in the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The television show Sliders made extensive use of the killer ape theory in arcs involving the Kro-Maggs.

External linksEdit

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