Scientist finds that mosh pit behaviour is linked to 40,000 year old tribes

ďThe older generations teach mosh pit etiquette and newcomers learn that moshing is not a fight, itís a way to release tension and often create lasting bonds with people." Says Dr Lindsay Bishop.

Henry Lewis

Date published: 21st Sep 2018

Image: Black Sabbath (credit)

A study by anthropologists has found heavy metal fans have evolved to communicate with each other like remote tribes in Papua New Guinea.

By looking closely at humans, human behaviour and societies; researcher Dr Lindsay Bishop, who has spent 10 years studying heavy metal, concluded that the dark, cathartic music and mosh pits have strong links to elders that mirror ceremonies that took place among Papuan tribes that have barely changed in 40,000 years.

To gather her research, Dr Bishop of University College London toured with a slew of hard rocking metal bands from the UK, USA and Europe, including Fear Factory, Pig, Combichrist, 3Teeth and Mortiis.

In the mosh pits, she reported newcomers were being passed on a unwritten code of conduct by older fans. Rules include immediately picking up people who had fallen over at a gig and anyone who is hurt being taken to the bar by the person responsible.

Dr Bishp commented: “Mosh pits, crowd surfing, circle pits – in an abstract sense epitomise the metal community,”

She continued: “The older generations teach mosh pit etiquette and newcomers learn that moshing is not a fight, it’s a way to release tension and often create lasting bonds with people. “Metal culture doesn’t have a history of aggression towards mainstream culture that, for example, punk has become synonymous for. “In metal culture, aggression is released through catharsis within the crowd.”