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Lecture 1

HLTB20H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Uniformitarianism, Carl Linnaeus, Normal Distribution

Health Studies
Course Code
Lianne Tripp

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Lecture 1 Notes
Contemporary Human Evolution & Variation
Week 2
-which genes are present in a population (forces): natural selection, mutation, genetic drift,
gene flow
-how genes are assembled into genotypes (mating systems): random mating, assortative
mating, inbreeding
Human Variation in the 17th and 18th Century
-awareness of human diversity emerged during the “age of European exploration”
-human variation challenged Creationism
Pre-Darwinian Thinking
-world was the product of grand design
-world was static and unchanging
-typological thinking was the norm (ex. race, categorize individuals/groups)
-variation was the product of imperfection
-humans existed independent of nature
-the earth was relatively young (created at 9am on October 23 2004 B.C.)
-James Ussher — came up with date and time for the creation of the Earth
-explaining variation and change in the world through the great chain of being
-Jean Baptiste Lamarck was a proponent of the great chain of being
-the great chain of being was a revival of Aristotle’s view of idealized living norms
Great Chain of Being
-framework for interpreting the world and inanimate objects
-every kind of living organism is linked in a chain guided by divine principles
-steps in the chain are organized so that an organism differ from those above and below it by
the least possible difference
-top of the chain: white male europeans
Principles Underlying the Great Chain of Being
-continuity: single line — those with similarities are closest together in the chain
-plentitude: no gaps in the chain; God created all possible organisms
-unilinear gradation: single hierarchy depending on degree to which they depart from divine
Carolus Linnaeus
-Swedish botanist
-father of modern taxonomy (classification)
-operated within the principles of the great chain of being
-essentialist perspective — number of species is limited, fixed and unchanging
-variation perceived as accidents of degradations
-classified all living things
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Lecture 1 Notes
Contemporary Human Evolution & Variation
Week 2
-binomial nomenclature included: generic name (Genus) and specific name (species)
-scientific classification which continued to posit fixity of species (reproductively isolated)
-published Systema Naturea — but had to revise due to increasing diversity resulting from
-classifies human diversity using subspecies categories (human varieties)
-human varieties (races): American (reddish), European (white), Asiatic (yellow), Negro
-basis: skin colour, face form, skull shape, stature, hair form, nose shape — behavioural
attributes & social customs (bio-determinism)
Modern Biological Taxonomy
-Kingdom (Anamalia)
-Phylum (Chordata)
-Class (Mammalia)
-Order (Primates)
-Family (Hominidae)
-Genus (Homo)
-Species (sapeins)
-if offspring of two categories can’t reproduce = is the defining line between species
Johann Blumenbach
-French naturalist
-father of physical anthropology
-classified humans into 5 races: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, American, Ethiopian, Malayan
-believed in fixity of species, races established at time of Creation (great chain of being)
-environment (diet, climate, social class) accountable for smaller variations within racial
-basis: skin colour, hair form, facial characteristics and skull shape
-skull shape: perfect Caucasoid skull (caucasian) from the Caucasus Mountain
-skull shape regarded as a trait highly resistant to environmental influences
-noted similar anatomy of humans and primates but primates do not have a soul
-observing the human body
-is used to classify people into groups
-widely used to come up with ideas of races
-without taking measurements: tall vs short, hair form, eye colour
-assigned characteristics to “races”
-refuted by Prichard, no such thing as “principle families” based on skull shape
-to study human diversity
-used in forensic anthropology
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