Anthropology Chapter 1

Anthropology
– the study of humans and our close biological relatives, the Primates
– the study of human cultural and biological variation, and evolution
– how did we get this variation?
What are the subfields of anthropology?
1) cultural
2) linguistic
3) archaeology
4) physical (biological) anthropology
What are the subfields of physical anthropology?
1) primatology
2) forensic
3) osteology
4) human biology
5) paleopathology
6) paleoanthropology
Cultural anthropology
– study of human cultural adaptation
– human behavior and societies using a cross-cultural perspective meaning all over the world
– unlike sociology, looks at all cultures around the world and compare them rather than focus on one area at a time
– study of living people
Linguistic anthropology
– language origins
– the relationship between language and culture
– language, especially cultural and social, but not so much grammar wise
– how does environment affect communication?
Archaeology
– study of past human cultures through their material remains
– behaviors of past societies based on material remains (artifacts left behind by a society)
– differs from cultural because it studies the past
Physical (Biological) anthropology
– study of human (and non-human primate) biology, within a framework of evolution, and human bicultural variation
– humans as biological organisms in an evolutionary framework
– how do they vary and how did that variation come to be?
Human biology
– subfield of physical anthropology
– Study of modern human genetic and phenotypic (physical) variation (biocultural variation)
– variations, adaptations, genetics, physical differences
– adaptation to an environment usually creates a body type
– proportions and skin are a result of habitat
Primatology
– Study of our close biological relatives, the Primates
– non-human primates’ anatomy, genetics, behavior, ecology
– Jane Goodall
– by studying primates we can see what’s unique only to humans or traits we share
Forensic anthropology
– identification of human remains
– study of how an individual died
– related to osteology and paleopathology
– help identify skeletal remins in mass disasters or other situations where a human body has been found
– Bill Bass and John Jefferson
Paleopathology
– the study of ancient disease
– the study of disease and trauma in ancient skeletal populations
– research tells us about the lives of individuals and populations in the past
– yields information regarding the history of certain disease processes
– investigate the prevalence of trauma, certain infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and other conditions that may leave evidence in the bone
Paleoanthropology
– the study of anatomical and behavioral human evolution as revealed in the fossil record
– Study of primate and human evolution
– the study of behavioral and anatomical human evolution as revealed in the fossil record
– human evolution
– main evidence is fossils of ancestors
– how did we evolve?
– Hominins: modern humans and their bipedal (upright walking) ancestors
– interdisciplnary
Osteology
– the study of skeleton
– only way anthropologists could study immediate ancestors
How do we study our extinct ancestors?
– bones
– archaeology (tools, trash, etc.)
– DNA
– analogy to living primates (including humans)
– aDNA (ancient DNA)
– comparing humans to our close relatives
What is science?
– a method of discovery that results in a body of knowledge
– process of explaining natural phenomena using direct observation and experimentation
– empirical method
– asks: How? What? Why?
Scientific method
1) observation
2) hypothesis
3) prediction
4) data collection (test the hypothesis with experiment)
5) evaluate the hypothesis
6) theory
– identifying a research problem and then gathering information to solve it
Hypothesis
– informed supposition about the relationship between two variables
– proposed explanation
– must be testable using empirical date
Variable
– any factor or property of a phenomenon (object, event) that may have different values
Scientific theory
– only after repeated tests which confirm or are consistent with the hypothesis does a hypothesis graduate to this