The adaptive value of tool-aided defense against wild animal attacks

Peter B. Crabb, Andrew Elizaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Throughout history humans have faced the persistent threat of attacks by wild animals, and how humans respond to this problem can make the difference between survival and death. In theory, the use of tools to fend off animal attacks would be more effective than resisting bare-handed, yet evidence for the advantage of tool-aided defense is scarce and equivocal. Two studies of news accounts of wild animal attacks against humans were conducted to test the hypothesis that tool-aided defense is indeed associated with reductions in injuries and deaths. Results of both Study 1 (N = 172) and Study 2 (N = 370) supported the hypothesis. The observed survival advantage of tool-aided defense for modern humans suggests that this tactic also would have worked for human ancestors who lived more closely to dangerous wild animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-638
Number of pages6
JournalAggressive Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The adaptive value of tool-aided defense against wild animal attacks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this