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Mortal RitualsWhat the Story of the Andes Survivors Tells Us About Human Evolution$
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Matt Rossano

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165006

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165006.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Natural Versus Civilized

Natural Versus Civilized

(p.5) Chapter One Natural Versus Civilized
Mortal Rituals

Matt J. Rossano

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes how a norm or behavior shifts from “civilized” to “ancient,” and contextualizes this transition with the situation of the UAF Flight 571 survivors. Humans want to “civilize” their environment to make it more amenable to success and survival. For example, humans reduce sexual aggression by creating a norm that would impel everyone to take one lifelong mate. Easing some cultural restrictions often results in uncivilized behavioral patterns. Recent survey of Americans found that the proportion of married adults has reached a low point, implying the reemergence of more ancient ways. Comparatively, the crash of UAF Flight 571 provided the physical context for the return of some of these ancient ways. The survivors clung to “civilized” ways of thinking and behaving for a while; however, they steadily adopted the ancient way of cannibalism and isolation to survive.

Keywords:   civilized behavior, ancient behavior, UAF Flight 571, cannibalism, isolation, survival

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