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What is anthropology?
The study of human beings
What are the four sub-disciplines of anthropology and what do they focus on/study?
- Linguistic – Study of language
- Archaeology – study of material remains of past populations
- Biological/Physical anthropology – studies the evolution of humans, their variability, and adaptations to environmental stresses
- Socio/cultural – Study of human cultures in respect to kinship, beliefs, economies and politics and other social areas of organization
What do we mean when we say that anthropology is holistic and comparative?
- Holistic: involves the looking at whole perspective instead of one. The idea that something as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts Kinship, economy, ideology, behavior, etc.)
- Comparative: analyze data about cultures to learn and explain patterns of similarity and difference.
What is culture?
The ways of doing an acting that are passed down through the generations not by genetics, but via learned behavior
what does the term cross-cultural comparison mean?
Compares different cultures to find out complex problems
what is meant by the term “biocultural” as a concept central to Biological or Physical anthropology.
The scientific exploration of the relationship between biology and culture. The influence of biology on culture and culture on biology. The reason why humans are unique.
What are the major branches of physical anthropology?
- Forensic Anthropology
- Molecular Genetics
What kind of research do Forensic Anthropologists do?
- apply anthropological techniques to legal, political, and special interest issues
- They use remains to ID people
- ex. Josef Mengele, the german Responsible for death of Jewish people. He selected people for the gas chamber and did inhumane medical experiements.he was never caught by Nazi hunters.
What kind of research do Paleoanthropologists do?
- Study early human ancestors
- Focus on fossils
- They take skeletal information and use empirical observation to reconstruct life ways
- Figure out what life was like to determine what is human about them
- They can use the crania to reconstruct the face
What kind of research do Anthropometrists do?
- Studies human body measurements
- Documents physical variation and proportion size of body (ex. size of cranium and cranial capacity)
- It is comparative in nature
- ex. can indicate shifting of wealthy diet to poor diet that can lead to class structure etc. in a pastoralist society
What kind of research do molecular geneticists do?
- Focus on modern people
- does DNA comparisons
- Almost all our genes are the same with other organisms, but there is a lot of minute differences that can be charted
What kind of research do primatologists do?
- Studies non human primates
- How primates behaviors are similar to ours
- Focuses on relatedness amongst members of primata
- Interested in culture among the primate world
- Where do lemurs come from? Madagascar
What kind of research do osteologists do?
- Studies the skeleton
- Important for interpreting fossils (can explain stature)
- tries to understand mechanics
- Can give information on nutrition
What kind of research do paleopathologists do?
(skeleton - DT)
- Studies skeletal disease and trauma
- The skeleton over the course of history can show violence, lack of nutrition, effects of environment on skeleton
What is science and how does it differ from creationism.
- Science is a process of understanding things through observation, generalization, and verification.
- Creationism is the biblical belief that the universe and all its organisms resulted from a divine act.
What were the three main creation-based ideas that most European/“western” people used to explain the world prior to the 19th century?
- Fixity of Species
- Great Chain of Being
What is Catastrophism
idea that the world was created by successive catastrophes and that the world was created by God
what is fixity of species?
idea that all creatures were created separately and divinely
What is meant by the "Great Chain of Being?"
idea that all creatures are hierarchically ranked, with humans being on top, and all organisms in their current form has remained unchanged
What ideas/concepts were Aristotle and Bishop Ussher responsible for?
- Archbishop Ussher established October 23, 4004 b.c for when the world was created
- Reverand lightfoot also used the begats to say the world was created at 9am.
- This belief that the earth and life on it were only 6000 years old fit neatly with the theory of "Great Chain of Being." attributed by Aristotle.
- Coined the term species (A.D 1660)
- Noted that plants and animals are reproductively isolated (reproductive isolation is the idea that there are many forces that stop two different organisms from having offspring together such as environmental and behavioral factors)
- Believed in fixity of species
- Known as father of Taxonomy
- Created a taxonomic system to order groups into hierarchies
- Developed system of: order, family, genus, and species
- binominal nomenclature: systematic way of naming species by giving it 2 parts; (genus (homo) and species (sapiens) )
- 1st successful person to cultivate tea
What is Taxonomy
the classification of organisms according to their relationships
Comte de Buffon
- Coined the term adaptation
- adaptation is when species adapt to their own environment; the Environment is a stimulus for change
- was the first to note that species could change according to their environment
- He acknowledged that species could change, but did not give rise to the idea that one species could give rise to another species
- reproduction affects production, which affects carrying capacity.
What is meant by adaptation? Who coined this term?
- is when species adapt to their own environment; the Environment is a stimulus for change
- Comte de Buffon
- all species descended from a common ancestor
- more time depth is needed to develop the world in 6000 years
- life originated in the seas
- introduced the idea that there is constant competition for resources of conspecifics, or members of the same species due to environmental influence
- He wrote things way before his grandson Charles Darwin
- He did not have empirical observations of these things…only ideas
- Believed in fixity of species
- Put a twist on catastrophism
- Stated that fossils were the result of extinction Elaborated on catastrophism saying that there were violent regional catastrophes – all life died in one region and the region is repopulated by migrants from nearby regions
- speculated that migration and repopulation would create newer creations
Charles Lyell…..A major impact
(Keep separate his important contributions and ideas)
- Founder of modern geology
- published principles of geology, which Darwin took with him on the beagle.
- Important Contributions:
- Uniformitarianism: processes acting in the present also occurred in the past
- Gradualism: changes occur slowly and cumulatively, not rapidly
- Important Ideas:
- Earths history is long (the idea that the earth has to be older than what it has to be)
- We need to use the present to understand the past
What is uniformitarianism? Who came up with this idea?
- processes acting in the present also occured in the past
- Charles Lyell
What is Gradualism? Who came up with this idea?
- changes occur slowly and cumulatively, not rapidly
- Charles Lyell
Thomas Malthus (1798)
- Published "An Essay on the Principle of Population"
- Darwin did not read Malthus until 3 years after his voyage
- human populations increase fast
- at some point there will not be enough food
- Important ideas:
- 1. Population size is limited because of carrying capacity
- 2. Reproductive potential is unlimited
- 3. Hence, competition for food
- argued that life was not fixed
- When environments change, organisms had to change their behavior to survive
- Lamarckism – explanation for evolutionary process and that during one’s lifetime an organism can acquire new traits
- came up with the theory of principle of inheritance of acquired characteristics
- introduced idea of fluids and forces that bring about new traits.
- ex. giraffe neck stretching because of its environment
what is the principle of inheritance of acquired characteristics? Who is this attributed to?
- explanation for evolutionary process
- during one’s lifetime an organism can acquire new traits, and pass it to its offspring
- Jean Baptiste-Lamarck