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Lecture 2

ANT203H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Georges Cuvier, Biological Anthropology, Genetic Variation

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Esteban Parra

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Lecture 2: Biological Anthropology and Evolution
Science based on facts and observation- verifiable truth a critical effort to understand
eg-Humans have larger brains and smaller teeth
Hypothesis: explanation for the observed fact and all must be testable- a potential must exist for the hypothesis to be
rejected. After testing it several time and the results are the same it becomes a theory- that is the relationship btw
facts, hypothesis and theory
Everything has to start with observation…than u frame hypothesis and u test it and u either accept it or reject it (after
several times of testing- it becomes a theory in science)
Anthropology: Study of human beings- ITS TOO GENERAL therefore, it is the science of human culture and biological
variation and evolution
--Most imp has emphasis on biology and culture, and their interaction
--Human beings are not solely biological or cultural ( when they interact they influence each other)
--Biocultural Approach:
--Holistic= we consider all other aspects of human existence…look into religion, economic aspect etc..u look at
--Natural and social science= combination of both ( biology and culture= both are equally imp and how they interact and
influence each)
Cultural anthro:- study of cultural behavioural, present and recent past of human populationsocial customs, beliefs etc
its holistic aspect
Archaeology: study cultural behaviour of human populations
Lingusitics= involves study of human language and relationship btw language and culture and the culture of the non-
literate people
**Biological Anthro= in early 20th century it was also known as physical anthropology- so u looked at physical variation
among humans…etc now with genetics techniques now its all biological
we study biological with present and past…human evolution, how like or dislike human pop are..the variation
btw them etc..the diversity ( we answer all these questions)
What is Evolution:
Evolution is change in living organism through time
-central unifying theme in biology
-interested in both biological and cultural evolution
--eg. Evolution of skin color (bio), different marriage practices ( cult) so we can observe many aspects of our species
Pre-Darwin Thought: The father of evolution of science
- there are other scientist who also contributed to the theory of evolution but Darwin is known as the father of them all
Carolus Linneaeus: he first one to come with formal classification of all the living organisms etc…based on common traits
he grouped them into meaningful groups…classifying these groups are called taxonomy
- he gave specific names to each and specifc organisms ( he gave scientific names)
species: group of organisms that can interbreed
these species that can adapt are known as genus
Georges Cuvier: put forth the hypothesis of catastrophism
- in the planets there were a series of catastrophism…main idea was not all individuals born today survive and
reproduce…many of them die and a few survive are able to adapt and reproduce
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck: inheritance of acquired traits: any traits that was acquired was later ..
the long neck of the girraf…their necks had short necks they had to feed on the trees and therefore their neck
elongated…the acquired trait was later on passed onto 3rd generation ( that was his hypothesis)
Thomas Malthus: human pop can grow geometrically while resources grow addictively…so how do they compensate?
- because of mind, disease, poverty…not all individuals that are born survive and reproduce most of them die and
a few survive and reproduce and move onto the next generation and thids is how they balance each other (SIMILAR TO
This main concept Darwin and Malthus used.
Charles Darwin: naturalist- travelled in ships collected lots of plants and animals
- surprised because he found a lot of variation in each and every organisms ( and even within the same species)
noticed that living organisms were well adapted to their env (eg. Cold env= animals had fur) birds had to find
insects in tree trunk had long beaks depending on env organisms were well adapted = MAIN OBSERVATION
Differential survival and reproduction: not all organisms survive and reproduce…there are some specific traits
that help or enhance their survival in reproduction
eg. Insects deep within tree trunk ( over a period of time, birds with long beak only they survive and reproduced)
so based on the environment organisms varied in how they adapted..
EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION: the nature selects which organisms survive and move onto the next
generation: nature plays a very imp role, which will move all and which will remain.
combined all his findings in his book
Alfred Russel Walalce: also talked about evolution by natural selection
Lamarckian: theory of acquired traits:
Horses- carnivals used to chase the horse ancestors…the horses develop stronger and longer legs and this was passed on
from generation to generation and finally their offspring had long legs
Darwin: carnivores chased hourses…those that had longer legs were faster and survive and passed it on to the net
generation vs. horses with smaller legs=slower therefore died by carnivores
Fossil record: by fossils…studying them u can find out the extinct species and the organisms that existed in the past
- organisms that existed millions of years ago
eg. Whales lost their…there was a transitional form…these are imp evidence to understand evolution
EG. GLYPTODONT= ARMADILLO both morphologically similar: this was ancestor of the armadillo…
thousands of fossils found for humans…imp evidence to trace human evolution
Retention of ancestral characteristics: whales they have a vestigial hind limbs other organism also have vestigial pelvic
bone…imp ways to understand evolution
whale vestigial pelvic bone…ancestral trait so from this we can try to guess what their ancestors look like
snacks have this hind limbs…u can guess what their ancestors looked like..
Comparisons of living organisms: u can understand which organisms are closer and which are distant
eg. Concludes that they have common ancestor and their evolution
any morphological trait u can take and compare…and see which are closer to humans and which are distant
by just comparing Limb bone by bone u can see which are closer to humans and which are not
MOST RECEnt: DNA sequence= look at molecular level…findout which organisms are genetifcally close and which are
genetically distant
one example of cytochrome c= protein, chimpanzee show 0 difference…no amino difference btw chimpanzee
and humans…so if u go down…rhesus monkey has 1 amino acid protein difference…lot of amino acids different for
wheat eg. 43 amino acids different…so they are not related. U can compare human with any living organisms
The phylogenetic tree..can see which are genetically close and which are far away: you can see man and monkey
are really close..pigeon, duck and chick and penguin are close…etc…DNA sequence helps understand the genetic relation
to humans and other organization
Microevolution observation: these are the ways u can study evolution of living organisms
Darwin finches: studied a group of birds and observed them closely for years and what he observed was in the
env. In which they survived at 1977 there was a sudden change/drop in the env…the seeds produced were small before
so birds can easily feed on small seeds but eventually small seeds stopped and all the other seeds were large and high.
How did the Darwin finches coped with the change in the env: 1st change was increase in the body size: before females
in general were smaller in size than males but after drought there was an increase for both males and females for body
size after drought= ENV PRESSURE
the beak size…the larger size seeds therefore finches started to show increase in beak size…
small seeds got exhausted= DROUGHT..birds smaller in size and whose beaks were not powerful and therefore,
died off…and the birds who had larger body size and had larger powerful beaks and only they could feed on the large
seeds and thus, only they survived and reproduced
Peppered moth: comes into two colors: light and dark
-99% was lighten color and 1% dark in color
-light survive on the tree trunks so they camouflaged- so they blend and thus, predators could not find them
-industrial revolution caused pollution causing tree trunks to become darker thus light moths were unable to
camouflage died and the dark color ones matched with the tree trunk…and eventually became 99% and the light one
became 1% in response to the polution...the increase in pollution caused nature to select dark colored moths
- Rock pocket Mouse:
the ancestral mouse lighter in color and so was the rock…and it matched with its env so it wsa not spotted by its
predator…volcanic eruption- lava caused the rock to change from light to dark…and this light color mouse was
endangered…and found that dark colored mouse survived and reproduced
-- NATURE SELECTED because of env pressure…it selected dark colored mouse against the light colored mouse
Light ricks:
before lava floor…the pocket mouse was light and so was the rock of O neil Hills…and this was an advantage
over the dark mouse and light colored rock…and now the roles switched…Natural selection against mismatching
- Genetic variation: which gene responsible this color of mouse…Biologival anthro is the study of human biological
variation and evolution