Sep 21/12: Human Biological Diversity
7:51 AM Sep 21, 2012
Why the Concept of Biological Races is Rejected
- There is no natural way toclassify humansinto biologicallymeaningful categories
- There are no "pure" races because all populations have beenin contact (interbreeding)with othersduringtheirhistory and they are constantly changing.
- There is more geneticvariation withingroups thanbetween groups.(we are more similaron the insidethanon the outside)
- Phenotypesimilaritiesmake up a very small fraction ofsimilaritiesin the human race - genotype similaritiesare far far more!
- The Human Genome project showed the above
- There is very littlegeneticdiversity in thehuman species asthey haven'tbeen around that long
- All humanshave a common ancestorof Chimpanzees
- Chimpanzeeshave20x more diversity than humans
- Races are no more than cultural constructionsbased on arbitrary characteristics
- Cultural Construct:somethingthat people have madeup. In different culturesthey have different conceptionsof groupings(different culturesgroup people
usingdifferent physical features)
- Biological characteristicsare not linkedwith abilitiesor behaviours.
- Primatology:The study of livingprimates
Why Study Primates?
- We havea relatively recentcommon ancestor
- We sharemore physical characteristicswith primates than with otherorganisms