September 23, 2010
Section 1: Biological Anthropology
1) Historical development of biological science.
2) Diversity of life & natural processes produced this diversity.
3) Fundamental biological & evolutionary concepts.
4) How anthropologists, including those in my department, apply evolutionary biology in their research.
What is Evolutionary Anthropology?
-Application of modern evolutionary theory to studies of the morphology, ecology, and behaviour
of human and non-human primates.
-Scientific study of non-human primates.
-Primate anatomy, field studies of wild animals, primate psychology, etc.
-Primatologists seek to conserve primates in vanishing tropical ecosystems.
-Multidisciplinary study of:
-Biological evolution of humans and non-human primates.
-Advent of and changes in human cultural activities.
-Evolutionary history of behaviour in human and non-human primates.
-spatial and temporal variations in human features.
-examples include geographic and climatic variations in body size, skin color, hair, etc.
-How social, environmental, and biological factors influence health and illness of individuals at the
community, regional, national, and global levels.
-Focuses only on skeletal remains of humans
-Forensic anthropologists seek to determine the age, sex, stature, ancestry, and any trauma or disease of
Major Questions about Humans and our Biology
-How does evolution work and how does it apply to us?
-What are biological characteristics of our species?
-What is physical record of our evolution (paleoanthropology)?
How Anthropologists Conduct Their Research?
State the problem
Form a hypothesis
Test the hypothesis
Record and analyze data
State the conclusion
Repeat the work
Carolus Linnaeus (Karl von Linne, 1707-1778)
-1st comprehensive classification system for living things.
-Each living thing named separate species.
-On basis of physical resemblances, species grouped into broader categories called genera (singular
-Forst letter of genus is capitalized like so: Homo
-Species designations always lower case, like so: sapiens
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)
-Earth's history > 6000 years (ca. 75,000 years). Major issue with contemporary religious authorities!
-Founded biogeography: despite similar environments, different regions have distinct plants and animals
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829)
-Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics. "vital forces" within creatures help them adapt to environment.
-Acquired traits: developed through use or disuse, passed on to future generations
-Among first to formulate method for origination of new species through use or disuse of certain
characteristics of organisms.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
-Naturalist on H.M.S. Beagle, scientific expedition to Pacific coast of South America (almost didn't get
job because Capt. didn't like shape of his nose!).
-Observed incredible variety of living and especially fossilized creatures.
-Conclusion: NO fixity of species and notion on short, catastrophic geological history for earth must be
Variation important in evolution
-Physical variety in any population of organisms
-If variety provides advantage to certain individuals then they may produce more offspring
-These offspring inherit beneficial variation so they produce more offspring variation norm of population
-Population may change perhaps completely new and different species
How does adaptive change occur?
-Key came from Essay on the Principle of Populations (1799) by economist Thomas Malthus (1766-
many more organisms are born than can possibly survive.
-Darwin: individuals in a species adapt to environments & long-term adaptation means evolutionary shift
in entire population in response to environmental change.
Darwin's Theory on Natural Selection
-All extant and extinct species share a common ancestry.
-Species evolve by natural selection.
-Natural selection: a process in nature resulting in survival and perpetuation of only those forms of life
having certain favourable characteristics that enable
them to adapt best to their environment.
Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913)
-Wallace writes Darwin from Malaysia, describing certain aspects theory of natural selection that Darwin
had been researching for 20 years.
-Wallace's short sketch is far from massive body of evidence Darwin had collected, but its core ideas
Three Postulates of Darwinian Evolution
1.) Struggle for existence: ability of population to expand is infinite, but environment is always finite.
2.) Variation in fitness: organisms vary, some individuals possess traits enabling them to survive &
reproduce more successfully than others in same environment.
3.) Inheritance of variation: Advantageous traits inherited by offspring will become more common in
succeeding generations. traits that
confer advantages in survival and reproduction retained in population; disadvantageous traits disappear.
Many religions attacked Darwin and his beliefs. Debated that his theories went against their principles
Darwin's Other Contributions
-Darwin avoided implications of general progress or directionality.
-Later works apply evolution to humans, & discuss other aspects of trait variation.
-Sexual selection: certain evolutionary traits can be explained by intraspecific (within-species)
Why Doesn't Evolution Result in General Increase of Fitness of Life to External World?
-Reason: environments always changing.
-Relative to organisms, environments usually getting worse.
-Natural selection concerned with keeping up, but every species eventually becomes extinct.
Soon as you evolve/adapt, the environment will change again.
"Survival of the Fittest"
Section goals: historical development of biological science, diversity of life & natural processes produced this diversity, fundamental biological & evolutionary concepts, how anthropologists, including those in my department, apply evolutionary biology in their research. Application of modern evolutionary theory to studies of the morphology, ecology, and behaviour of human and non-human primates. Primate anatomy, field studies of wild animals, primate psychology, etc. Primatologists seek to conserve primates in vanishing tropical ecosystems. Advent of and changes in human cultural activities. Evolutionary history of behaviour in human and non-human primates. Examples include geographic and climatic variations in body size, skin color, hair, etc. How social, environmental, and biological factors influence health and illness of individuals at the community, regional, national, and global levels. Forensic anthropologists seek to determine the age, sex, stature, ancestry, and any trauma or disease of the deceased. What is physical record of our evolution (paleoanthropology)? www. notesolution. com.