Researchers from Abo Academy University in Finland say that violence in early human communities was driven by personal conflicts rather than large-scale battles.
They say their findings suggest that war is not an innate part of human nature, but rather a behaviour that we have adopted more recently.
The study is published in the journal Science.
Patrik Soderberg, an author of the study, said: “This research questions the idea that war was ever-present in our ancestral past. It paints another picture where the quarrels and aggression were primarily about interpersonal motives instead of groups fighting against each other.”