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Evolutionary Anthropology

Course Code
Christopher Watts

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Evolutionary Anthropology
Application of modern evolutionary theory to studies of morphology, ecology, behavior of human
and non-human primates
Scientific studies of non-human primates
Anatomy -> investigation of psych -> field studies
Bio evo of primates; advent of and changes in human cultural activities
Evo history of behavior in primates
Human Variation
Spatial and temporal variations in human futures
Medical Anthropology
Social, environmental, biological factors influence health and illness at community, regional,
national and global levels
Forensic Anthropology
Focuses only on skeletal remains of humans
forensic anthropologists seek to determine age, sex, stature, ancestry trauma, disease of deceased
Major Questions about Humans and Biology
How does evo work and apply to us
What are bio characteristics of our species
Physical record of evolution (paleoanthropology) and how do we see this in the fossils of extinct
forms of humans
Evolutionary anthropology grounded in scientific method: state problem, gather info, form
hypothesis, test hypothesis, record and analyze data, state conclusion, repeat work
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Concept of evo ant changed; 200 years ago, notion that humans undergoing evo was heresy in
many places
Piece together history of evo theory like solving mystery
Carolus Linnaeus (Karl von Linne, 1707-1778)
First comprehensive classification system for living things
Each plant and animal was named as separate species
On basis of physical resemblances, species grouped into genera (singular genus) broader category
Binomial nomenclature; first letter of genus capitalized, Homo”
Species designations lower case always, sapiens
Off-set text by underlining if handwriting, or italicizing when typing
Linnaeus is not an evolutionist; Scala naturae (Natures ladder); believer of young earth that earth
was created on afternoon of Oct 23, 4004BC; divine creation (Fixity of species, God created
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)
Earths history longer than biblical 6000years (ca 75000 years), major issue with contemporary
religious authorities
Founded biogeography by noting that despite similar environments, different regions have distinct
plants and animals
Known as heretic in his day, threatened severely by church
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829)
Inheritance of acquired characteristics: vital forces within creatures to help them adapt to
Acquired traits developed thru use or disuse, passed on to future generations
Among first to formulate methods for origination of new species thru use or disuse of certain
characters of organism
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
Naturalist on HMS Beagle, scientific expedition to Pacific coast of South America (almost didnt
get job b/c captain didn like shape of his nose -_-)
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