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Lecture 4


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AN 102

PART IV – OUR DIVERSITY THE STUDY OF HUMAN VARIATION VARIATION: religious, physical, and cultural differences seen in different people around the world o Defined culturally, most often in discrete physical variations o Race: more variation between groups than within them • However, there is MORE variation (90%) within human groups than between (10%) them • Africa has the MOST genetic diversity in the biological race (subspecies) o Chimps and most bonobos – not humans • This does not mean – in any way – that race as social concept isn’t very much real • This also does not mean there isn’t biological variation to adaptions HUMAN VARIATION AND BAD SCIENCE • Science since the 17 century have used human variation to define “types” of people into races • Variations and definitions were used to justify a variety of dehumanizing acts against many groups of people • Today: still happening HISTORY OF BAD SCIENCE • Blumenbach 1775, Anatomist o Defined racial classification “Mongoloid,” “Caucasoid,” “Negroid” • Samuel Morten 1830, collection of skulls o Mis-measured skulls and furthered political and societal goals o Helped justify slavery and land rights violations th Associated IQ and behavior to “biological” races • 20 Century, Franz Boas o Skull size and shape are “plastic” o No “racial” distinction in IQ and behavior o Yet, misperceptions persist BAD SCIENCE USED TO DEHUMANIZE • American Eugenics Movement of the early 20 Century o Practice of sterilization of black, Hispanic, Native American people • Nazi Germany – The Holocaust (largely based on American Eugenics) • Tuskegee research study on syphilis (1930s—1970s) • Used to justify genocides around the world o ~83 million people killed from genocides in 20 century RACE IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT • Biological race does not exist in human • Race is socially defined o Religion o Social class o Language o Physical appearance SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF RACISM • Racism impacts social opportunities • Structural Racism: institutional, systematic politics, practices, economic and political structures where certain groups are at a disadvantage in relation to the majority o Public school budgets o Restrictive housing contracts o Lending policies o Racial profiling o Voting rights RACE BECOMES BIOLOGY • Structural Racism o Health-care disparities o Poor housing conditions o Stress – emotional, mental, physiological o Social factors including behavior, diet & religious beliefs • American minorities at higher risk of: o Low birth weight babies (fetal programming) o Hypertension (less access to good food, education, healthcare, etc.) o Obesity/heart disease/diabetes o Decreased life expectancy • Biological reductionism: idea that all variation is explained by biology, without accounting for cultural, environmental reasons TYPES OF ADAPTIONS • Genetic • Developmental • Physiological o Depend on environment • Genetic adaptions o Microevolution within populations o Response to environment o Ex: • Some body proportions • Skin colors • Certain genetic diseases BODY PROPORTIONS *** • Allen’s and Bergman’s rules o Body shape and size are adaptive o Bergman: smaller size loses heat more quickly o Allen: smaller proportions lose heat more quickly o Ultimately: SURFACE AREA NOSE SHAPE • Large, wide noses in cold and dry climate VITAMIN D • Bone growth • Immune function and mental health FOLIC ACID • UV Rays can deplete • Important for reproduction SKIN COLOR • Clinal & gradual o Skin color is not linked to other traits like hair color, hair texture, or eye color o Many people around the world have variations of these o Melanesians – along with some aborigines, evolved blond hair mutation independently from Europeans) o Melungeons – tri-racial group, Euro/Afro/Native ancestry and could not be defined to any one group ***Nina Jablonski GENETIC DISEASES • Evolutionary adaptions to environments o Tay Sachs/TB – maybe? o Sickle Cell Anemia/Malaria o Autoimmune Disorder/Infectious Diseases o Cystic Fibrosis/Diarrheal Diseases DEVELOPMENTAL ADAPTIONS • Individual phenotype changes during growth and development depending on environmental factors • Permanent: developmental acclimatization • Can have generational affects (epigenetics) • Ex: o Stunted height o Fetal programming o Some body proportions STUNTED HEIGHT • Shorter than genetic potential would allow • Response to poor environmental conditions o Malnutrition o Disease o Pollution • Smaller size requires less energy, more adapted than those who grow larger and require more energy to survive – debated as an adaption or consequence • When severe malnourishment is life threatening… o Kwashiorkor: lack of proteins but not calories o Marasmus: lack of proteins and calories • Results: muscle wasting, stunted height, decreased immunities, increased risk of disease and death • Causes: extreme poverty, lack of quality foods and cultural practices of when children should be fed certain types of food • Anthropologists offer education, nutritional/medical support, with cultural respect and understanding FETAL PROGRAMMING • Prenatal nutrition and birth weight in “pre-programs” each individual for their overall health in life • Less energy available for proper growth • Low birth weight babies (under 5lbs) o Obesity, heart disease, kidney failure, and diabetes PHYSIOLOGICAL ADAPTIONS • Acclimation: short-term change in response to a specific environmental stimulus • Often replaced wit
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