Neolithic Britons had a 1 in 14 chance of being violently mugged

I’m coming late to this, but what a gnarly little statistic: Researchers have calculated that Neolithic residents of Britain had a 1 in 14 chance of being bashed in the head, and a 1 in 50 chance of dying from the injury.

Rick Schulting of Queen’s University Belfast co-directed the study, which looked at the remains of 350 skulls from the period. Apparently people were just going totally medieval — uh — on each other back then, as the New Scientist reports:

Most of the fatal blows were to the left side of the head, which would make sense if two right-handed people were fighting, says Schulting. The injuries were mostly caused by blunt objects, although some of the skulls seem to have been hacked by stone axes and there is some evidence that ears were chopped off.


(Thanks to Arts and Letters Daily for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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