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What is Biological Anthropology?
The study of human biology and behavior within the framework of evolution, with an emphasis on the interaction between biology and culture.
What is science in Physical Anthropology?
Science is not just collecting and cataloging facts, but instead a way of knowing based on a systematic search for explanations.
What is the process of science based on in physical anthropology?
- Evidence (Asking questions & demanding evidence)
- Observation (Collecting empirical evidence [data])
- Generalization (Finding patterns & relationships)
- Testing (Prediction vs. reality)
- Continued testing (Refining explanations & correcting errors)
What are the basic scientific principles?
- 1) Nature is governed by natural laws
- 2) These natural laws can be discovered through inquiry and rational thought
- 3) Humans are part of nature and subject to these natural laws
- Not ungrounded speculation but instead a statement about what might be true
- Must be falsifiable—can be proven wrong with observations
- Well-tested model that has survived repeated attempts to prove it false
- Evolution is a theory (some use the term “fact”) that has stood the test of time and repeated tests and refinements
What is the concept of The Great Chain of Being? Who was it attributed to and when?
The Great Chain of Being was attrubuted to Aristotle in 4th century B.C. It is the idea that all organisms exist in a universal hierarchical ladder. This ladder is linear, from simple to complex and is unchanging (fixity of species). Humans are at the top but are below gods and angles. This is refered to as the ladder of progress.
What is the name of the era from the 14th through 16th centuries and what did it represent?
The era between the 14th and 16th centuries is the Renaissance and early science era. This was when new perspectives on the human body were formed by Da Vinci and Versalius. It was also when the europeans began exploring the globe.
When did the scientific revolution take place and what was it focused on?
It took place in the beginning of the 16th century. It focused on naturalistic explainations and it was when capernicus and galileo discovered that the earth rotated around the sun (heliocentric universe).
What is taxonomy?
The classificaiton system of plants and animals.
What is fixity of species?
The belief that life forms couldn't and didn't change.
Who is John Ray?
He is the man that came up with the terms species and genus in the late 1600s. He was the first to recongnize that groups of plants and animals could be differentiated.
Who is Carolus Linnaeus and when was he alive?
Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) was a swedish naturalist who developed a meathod of classifying plants and animals. He published Systema Naturae in 1735, and in it he stablished the system Binomial Nomenclature. He added on to John Ray's system- added class and order. It is based solely on physical characteristics and he believed in fixity species.
Who was Jean Baptiste Lamarck and when did he live?
Lamarck (1744-1829) was the first to attempt to explain evolution. He suggested that if the external environment changed, then an animal's activity patterns would also change. He came up with the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, which states that characteristics are passed along through offspring based on whether or not the animal used it.
Who is Georges Cuvier and when was he alive?
Cuvier (1769-1832) came up with catastrophism which is the belief that the earth's geological landscape is the result of cataclysmic events. He still believed in fixity of species.
Who is Charles Lyell and when did he live?
Charles Lyell (1797-1875) was the founder of modern geology, and he argued that the geological processes we see today re the same that occured in the past. This theory is known as Uniformitarianism.
Who is T.R. Malthus and when did he live?
Malthus (1766-1834) wrote An Essay on the Principles of Population. This inspired charles darwin. It states that human populaiton can't indefinitely increase because of limited resources.
When did Charles Darwin live?
What are the main points in Charles Darwin's theory of evolution?
- Organisms can change over time
- Fossils are the remnants of extinct life forms
- All living organisms descend from a common ancestor
- Process of evolution takes lots of time
What did Herbert Spencer believe?
He believed in survival of the fittest, and that more offspring are born than can survive.
When was the theory of natural selection first published and by whom?
First published by Alfred Russell Wallace in 1858/1859.
What were Darwin's major contributions?
- He provided a mechanism for evolution.
- He explained Linnaeus' classification system.
- He eliminated the typological view of nature.
- He provided the perspective of common descent and ancestry.
What are the two key points of Darwin's evidence of evolution through natural selection?
- Through experiments involving selective breeding, i.e. dog breeds.
- Biogeography, which is the study of the distribution of plants and animals around the globe.
Define homologous traits.
Similar structures, but different functions. This is indicative of common ancestry.
Define vestigial structures and give an example.
Retentions with no current function, e.g. pelvic bones in whales, eyes in cave-dwelling salamandars that are completely blind, tiny pelvic and limb bones in snakes, etc.
Define comparative embyology and give an example.
Similarities in embyos but adult differences. For example, tails in apes in humans that appear early but later disappear.
What were some problems that Darwin had?
He couldn't explain how traits were inherited, or how variation originated and maintained.
What was Gregor Mendel known for?
He knew about the basic principles of inheritance by the 1860s but he didn't become widely known until 1900.
The study of gene structure and action and the patterns of inheritance of traits from parent to offspring.
Explain the difference between Prokaryote and Eukaryote.
Prokaryotes do not have nucleuses, or organelles besides ribosomes in the cytoplasm, while eukaryotes do.
What are the two types of cells?
Somatic, which are body cells, and gametes, which are sex cells.
Section of DNA with identifiable structure and/or function.
What is an autosome and how many pairs are there?
Autosomes are all chromosomes beside sex cells and there are 22 pairs.
Physical position of a gene on a chromosome.
Different forms of a gene.
What is the difference between structural and regulatory genes?
Structural genes code for proteins, and regulatory genes regulate expression and timing of other genes.
Define Homeobox genes.
Type of regulatory gene that directs development of overall body plan & body tissue segmentation.
Define Exons and Introns.
- Exons: coding, sections of genes that are involved in protein synthesis.
- Introns: non-coding, sections of genes that are not involved in protein synthesis.
Genetic makeup; specific allele composition of a certain gene or set of genes.
The physical or biochemical expression of a genotype; the observable attributes of an organism.
Single gene with multiple effects on phenotype.
What is the modern synthesis, when did it begin, who is it attributed to?
Moderns synthesis unites natural selection and Mendelian genetics, bridges microevolution and macroevoltution. Attributed to Dobzhansky, Mayr, & Simpson.
What is the new definition of evolution and what does it imply?
New definition is a change in genetic structure in a populaiton over time. Implies that populations evolve, individuals do not, and can now measure evolutionary change.
What are the Forces of Evolution?
Mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, genetic flow.
A trait that increases the fitness of an organism.
Define genetic drift.
Changes in gene (allele) frequencies produced by random factors.
Define genetic flow.
Exchange of genes (alleles) between populations (within a species).
Process by which a new species evolves from an earlier species (the most basic processof macroevolution).
What are the key concepts of macroevolution?
Macroevolutionary change can occur through anagensis (non-branching) or cladogenesis (branching evolution).
What is the difference between intraspecific and interspecific?
Intra is within a species, inter is between different species.
Dental specializations (adaptations) for food processing.
What is the difference between k-selected and r-selected?
K-selected species emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to sociality and parental care, where r-selected species emphasize quantity, like fish.
Why do we study primates?
To help us understand human biology and to reconstruct our evolutionary history.
What is the comparative meathod?
Making comparisons between us and other species in order to understand how and why we've diverged.
What is the difference between conserved and derived traits?
Conserved traits have been consistant for a very long time, while derived traits are relatively new and adapted to the environment in a different way.
What are some reasons why humans are so fat today?
Throughout much of human history we have not had food readily available, so we have adapted to deposit fat when food is available.
What do prosimians have that anthropoids do not?
- Greater reliance on olfaction.
- Post orbital bar, but not closure.
- Unfused frontal and symphysis.
- Grooming claw.
- Dental comb.
Define Platyrrhini and Catarrhini.
- Platyrrhini (New World Monkeys)
- & Catarrhini (Old World Monkeys)
- 1. DNA unzips.
- 2. mRNA carries DNA code to ribsome (reads in triplets).
- 1. mRNA copy to ribsome.
- 2. Ribsome reads mRNA codons.
- 3. tRNA binds specific amino acids.
- 4. Amino acids join together to form polypeptide chains and proteins.
What is a codon?
A group of three mRNA bases.
What is a polypeptide?
A chain of amino acids joined together through peptide bonds.
How many genes do humans have?
What are nondisjunction errors?
The failure of chromosomes to separate properly during cell division.
Define mitosis and describe the process.
Mitosis is division in somatic cells. Process: chromosomes duplicate. Chromosomes join align, and separate. Cell divides in two.
Define meiosis and describe the process.
Meiosis is cell division in sex cells. Process: replication, first cell division in two, second cell division into four daughter cells.
What is single gene inheritance, and who discovered it? Guve examples.
Single gene inheritance was discovered Gregor Mendel. Each gene has a distinct biological effect, e.g. curved thumbs, cheeks dimples, etc.
What is polygenic/multigene inheritance?
Traits influenced by two or more genes, e.g. hair color, height, etc. Often environmental influence.
Define particulate inheritance.
Not blending but instead one trait or the other, e.g. red plus white does not equal pink, but instead equals white or red.
What is the principle of independent assortment?
Traits typically inherited independently of other traits, e.g. seed color doesn't influence height.