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ANT100Y1 Lecture Notes - Gregor Mendel, Carl Linnaeus

Course Code
Christopher Watts

of 4
Anthropology September 23rd, 2010.
Biological Anthropology
What is evolutionary anthropology?
Application of modern evolutionary theory to studies of the morphology, ecology,
5 research disciplines in evolutionary anthropology
Scientific study of non-human primates
Primate anatomy, field studies of wild animals, primate psychology
Primatologists seek to conserve primates in vanishing tropical ecosystems
Multidisciplinary study of:
Biological evolution of human and non-human primates
Advent of and changes in human cultural activities
Evolutionary history of behavior in human and non-human primates
3.Human Variation
Spatial and temporal variations in human features
For example geographic and climate variations in body size, skin colour, and eye colour
4.Medical anthropology
How social, environmental, and biological factors influence health and illness of
individuals at the community, regional, national, and global levels
5.Forensic anthropology
Focuses only on skeletal remains of humans
Forensic anthropologists seek to determine the age, sex, stature, ancestry, and any trauma
or disease 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)?
How do evolutionary anthropologists conduct their research?
(Stanley Gathered Few Trophies Racing Slow Rabbits)
State the problem
Gather information
Form a hypothesis
Test the hypothesis
Record and analyze data
State the conclusion
Repeat the work
Anthropology September 23rd, 2010.
Work of Early Naturalists that led to Development of Evolutionary Theory
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 genus)
Binominal Nomenclature
First letter of genus is capitalized like so: Homo
Species designations always lower case, like so: sapiens
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Conte de Buffon (1707-1788):
Earths history >6000 years (ca. 75,000 years). Major issues with contemporary
religious authorities
Founded biogeography despite similar environments, different regions have
distinct planets and animals
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829):
Inheritance of acquired characteristics. “Vital forces within creatures help them
adopt to environment
Acquired traits: developed through use or disuse, passed on the figure generations
Among first to formulate method for organization of new species through use or
disuse of certain characters of organism
Charles Darwin (1809-1882):
Naturalist on H.M.S. Beagle, scientific expedition to Pacific coast of South
America (almost didnt get job because Capt. Didnt like shape of his nose)
Observed incredible variety of living especially fossilized creatures
Conclusion: No fixity or species and notion on short, catastrophic geological
history for earth must be incorrect
Variation important in evolution
Physical variety in any population of organisms
If variety provides advantage in certain individuals, then they may produce more
These offspring inherit beneficial variation, so they produce more offspring;
variety norm of population
Population may change, perhaps completely new and different species
How does Adaptive Change Occur?
Anthropology September 23rd, 2010.
Kay came from Essay on the Principle of Populations (1799) by economist
Thomas Malthus (1766-1834). Many more organisms are born that can
possibly survive.
Darwin: individuals in a species adapt to environments and long-term adaptation
means evolutionary shift in entire population in response to environmental
Darwins 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 favorable 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
Wallaces short sketch is far from massive body of evidence Darwin had collected, but its
core ideas were similar
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 and 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.
Note: the word “evolution” does not appear in the first edition of Origin of Species.
Darwins Other Contributions
Darwin avoided implications of general progress or directionality
Later works apply evolution to human and discuss other aspects of trait variation
Sexual selection: certain evolutionary traits can be explained by intraspecific
(within-species) competition
Why Doesnt Evolution Result in General Increase of Fitness of Life to External
Reason: environments always changing
Relative to organisms, environments usually getting worse