Evolutionary Explanations for Group Displays


Group displays are often 'ritualised' displays of aggression by and bettwen groups of people that serve the adaptive function of determining dominance hierachies in relation to ownership of territory and intimidation of other groups. The evolutionary significance would increase food supply, which would increase survival rates and so increase chances of reproductive success.

Group displays in Sport

  • Sport allows competition because males without incurring the risk of serious injury
  • Athletes show of strength and skill which is attractive for females who select high status males for reproductive success based  on displays of genetic fitness
  • Displays can include "war dances" - Performed before and during battle by ancestral warriors and would have been adaptive as they would motivate members and intimidate the enemy.
  • New Zealand All Blacks 'Haka' (ancestral war cry) serves the same purpose - intimidate the opposing team and adaptive as the threatening displays of face grimacing and tongue pulling are designed to make rivals feel less confident
  • This enhances the chances of victory and access to key resources e.g. high status, wealth and females.
  • Incorporated into supporter group displays e.g. wearing


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