Like our close living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, humans are hardwired come into conflict with one another, often violently. Even so, like our ancestors, we also have the capacity to resolve fights; something that one anthropologist says has evolved along with our societies over the millennia.

We still have a way to go, he points out. The current system we have in place for dealing with large-scale conflict — the United Nations — is inadequate, suggests researcher Christopher Boehm who has contributed one of several essays on human conflict published in the May 18 issue of the journal Science.

“The genes are still making us do the same old things, which include quite a bit of conflict. Culture has given us solutions at various levels,” said Boehm, of the department of biological sciences and anthropology at the University of Southern California, in a podcast released by the journal Science. “But the world conflict-resolution system still needs quite a bit of work.”

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