Ancient Peruvians were Stressed

I recently read an article that studied the hair of ancient peruvians who lived between 550 A.D. and 1532. They found the stress hormone cortisol in ancient hair. Cortisol is produced in response to real and perceived threats. After its release, the hormone travels to nearly every part of the body, including to blood, saliva, urine and hair. Interestingly they found the stress levels of these individuals to be higher than individuals today. The reason I thought this article was so interesting was because recently in class we’ve been talking about whether we impose our morals and values on other animals, thinking maybe they don’t even have them. But from an evolutionary point of view, stress can be explained. Perhaps, we can explain morals and values from an evolutionary perspective as well, which might indicate reason for other animals to want to have them. Although we know the human brain is very complex and very develop, we seem to think no other animals can ever have the amount of thought and complexity that we have. But maybe if we know early humans had things like stress, which helped them react and respond to bad situations, we can explain morals in similar ways. For example, we know that our morals tend to guide the actions of our lives, and from an evolutionary perspective they make sense since in general morals tend to protect human life.


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