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The biblical murder of Abel by his brother Cain is often portrayed as our first point of reference to the crime of murder. Theology student should look more into how this murder is portrayed in the Bible and elsewhere. However, archaeologists have recently uncovered a skull that dates from 430,000 years ago, and shows evidence of such a crime pre-dating Cain and Abel.

Scientists have applied modern forensic techniques which indicate that the victim was probably killed by two blows to the head, before being thrown down a cave shaft. Students interested in Biology and Chemistry can look further into these techniques.

The skull was in fact found in 52 parts, which archaeologists pieced together to conclude that there appeared to be two holes in the skull, which seemed to have been caused by impacts from the same object. Modern forensic methods could deduce that these injuries were inflicted around the time of death, but weren’t consistent with an accidental fall down the shaft.

Dr Sala from the Joint Centre for Evolution and Human Behaviour in Madrid claims that this discovery indicates that deliberate and lethal interpersonal aggression, which constitutes murder, is an ancient human behaviour. Students who are applying for Archaeology and Anthropology can look deeper into how murder and aggression appears in societies, and how evidence such as this debunks the Noble Savage theory of humanity. History students should investigate claims that the 20th century was the most violent century, and consider which societal factors may have contributed to this.

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