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Lecture 1

ANT100Y1 Lecture 1: ANT100 lecture notes [SEPT 12]

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Shawn Lehman

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ANT100 Lecture Notes [September 12]
What is evolutionary Anthropology?
Application of modern evolutionary theory to studies of morphology, ecology, and
behaviour of human and non-human primates.
Scientific study of non-human primates
Primate anatomy, field studies of wild animals, primate phycology, etc.
Primatologists seek to conserve primates in vanishing tropical ecosystems (e.g. mouse
lemurs in Madagascar)
Multidisciplinary study of:
o Biological evolution of human and non-human primates
o Advent of and changes in human cultural activities
o Evolutionary history of behaviour in human and non-human primates
Human variation
Spatial and temporal variations in human features
Ex. Geographical and climatic variations in body size, skin colour and eye colour
Medical anthropology
How social, environmental and biological factors influence health and illness of
individuals at the community, regional, national and global levels
Forensic anthropology
Focuses only on skeletal remains of humans
Forensic anthropologists seek to determine the age, sex, stature, ancestry, and any
trauma or decease of the deceased
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)?

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How do evolutionary anthropologists conduct their research?
Four problems limited development of theory of evolution
01. Lack of knowledge on age of earth
02. Religious concept of fixity of species
03. Lack of scientific method
04. Religious notion of separate creation for humans and animals
01. Age of the earth
In 1650, earth was created on afternoon of October 23, 4004 B.C.
Accepted because church pronouncements held as secular and religious law
02. Fixity of species
By 8th century, scientists say living things created in present form
Species, especially human species, were unchanging and distinct from each other
03. Lack of scientific method
Many ideas and concepts based on singular observation or fanciful accounts of other
04. Separate creation for humans and animals
Religious doctrine that god created humans separate from over animals
Humans made in god’s image, so more diversity than animals
Processes that work on animals could not work on us “god-like” humans
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