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1st lecture Biological

Course Code
Christopher Watts

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September 23rd 2010
Study Suggestions
READ associated chapters before class
LISTEN and make only short notes
REVIEW outline next day
REWRITE! your lecture notes in full immediately after lecture
*lecture notes will be on the course website
Section Goals
a) historical development of biological science
b) Diversity of the life & natural processes produced this diversity
c) Fundamental biological & evolutionary concepts
d) How anthropologists, including those in my department, apply evolutionary
biology in their research
What is evolutionary biology?
Application of modern evolutionary theory to studies of the morphology, ecology,
and behavior of human and non-human primates.
% disciplines
1) Primatology
Scientific study of non-human primates
Primate anatomy, field studies of wild animals, primate psychology
Conservation of primates
2) Paleoanthropoly
multidisciplinary study of biological evolution of humans and non-human
primates, the advent of and changes in human cultural activities and
evolutionary history of behavior
3) Human Variation
Spatial and temporal variations in human features
Ex. Geographic and climate variations in body, skin
4) Medical Anthropology
How social, environmental and biological factors influence health and influence
of individuals at the community, regional, national and global level
Forensic Anthropology
Focuses on skeletal remains of humans and seek to determine age, sex, stature,
ancestry and reason for death
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 to conduct research:
State Problem, gather info, hypothesis, test hypothesis, record and analysis
data, conclusion, repeat work (Ex. London Fog, one off?)
Early Naturalist
Carolus Linnaeus (Karl von Linne, 1707-1778)
First 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)
Binomial Nomenclature: First letter of genus is capitalized, like so: Homo
Species designations always lower case: sapiens
Of set text in italics or underlined
Believed everything was created by God, cataloguing Gods work
Became overwhelmed by the diversity of life, placed humans in with a
chimpanzees—started to doubt Gods creation
George-Louis Leclerc, Comte Buffon (1707-1788)
Earths history . 6000 years (ca. 75000 years). Major issue with contemporary
religious authorities they had chosen based on reading bible
Founded biogeography: despite similar environments, different regions have
distinct plants and animals . Different communities of organisms, Kings
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829)
Inheritance of acquired characteristics. vital forces within the creatures help
them to adapt to environment
Acquired traits: developed through use or disuse, passed o to future generations
Among the first to formulate method for origination 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 the job because Captain didnt like the shape of his
Observed incredible variety of living and especially fossilized creatures
Conclusion: NO fixity of species and notion on short, catastrophic geological
history of earth must be incorrect and agreed with Leclerc
His Professors put his name in for a naturalist position on the Beagle to sail
around the world for 5 yearsdrop him off on land with researchers. South
America, South east Asia, Africa etc. drawing pictures
Arrived home famous because he had been sending things home to Profs,
married his cousins Wedgewood family (rich!)
Variation Important in Evolution
Physical varaity: in any population of organisms
If variety provides advantages to certain individuals, then they may produce
more offspring

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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 come from Essay on Principle of Populations (1799) by economist Thomas
Malthus (1766-1834). Many more organisms are born than can possibly survive.
Darwin: individuals in a species adapt to environments & long term adaptions
means evolutionary shirt in entire population in response
Darwins Theory on Natural Selection
All extant and extinct species share a common ancestor
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 to best to their environmentit drives evolution
Ex. Selective breeding in dogs
Darwin sat on his theory for 20 years because of fear of the religious authorities
movie on Darwin and wife
Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913)
Wallace wrote Darwin from Malaysia, describing certain aspects of theory of
natural selection that Harwin 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
Both wrote a paper, after success, he wrote a book On the Origins of Species by
means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the
Struggle for Life (1859)
Three Postulates of Darwinian Evolution
a) Struggle for existence: ability of population to expand infinite, but environment
is always finite
b) variation in fitness: Organisms vary, some individuals possess traits enabling
them to survive & reproduce more successfully than other in same environment
c) Inheritance of Variation: Advantageous traits inherited by offspring will
become more common in succeeding generations. Traits that confer and
advantages in survival and reproduction retained in population; disadvantageous
traits disappear.
Note evolution does not appear in the first edition of the Origin of Species
No purpose to evolution: it never ends as no species is perfect
Debates arose between religious people and pro-Darwin, friends debated for him.
Eventually it was concluded that evolution does not belong with religious faith.
The coexist as separate entities.
Darwins 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 that females prefer actually select
masculine traits. Visually determining genetic diversity in potential male mates.
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