Study Notes on Biological Anthropology

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Published on 16 Apr 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Anthropology
Course
ANT100Y1
BIOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
Chapter 1: Intro to Evolutionary Anthro
Anthropology = the global and holistic study of human culture and biology.
Holistic = considering all aspects of the research subject.
Biological anthropology = the study of human and non human primates in their biological
and demographic dimensions.
Evolutionary Anthrolpologists:
Seek to answer questions about where we come from, who we are, and why
were here.
They specialize in 5 research areas: PPHMF
PRIMATOLOGY: scientific study of our closest extant biological relatives:
non human primate species.
PALEOANTHROPOLOGY: the multidisciplinary study of the biological
evolution of humans and nonhuman primates. (ie. Fossils, and investigating
changes in human cultural activities, tool use, subsistence patters, disease,
ect)
HUMAN VARIATION: to determine spatial and temporal variations in
human features.
MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY: study of how social, environmental, and
biological factors influence health and illness of individuals at the
community, regional, national and global levels. A recent addition.
FORENSIC ANTHROLPOLOGY: focusing on the skeletal remains, to
determine age, sex, stature, ancestry, and any trauma or disease of the
deceased.
Types of Research:
3 types.
DESCRIPTIVE: collecting data about the study subjects or objects
CASUAL: looking for one thing that causes another to happen or change.
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APPLIED: determining the means by which a specific, recognized need can
be met.
Scientific Method:
5 sequential processes
Observation of the phenomena
Formulation of the Hypothesis concerning the phenomena
Development of Methods to test the validity of the hypothesis
Experimentation
Conclusion that supports or modifies the hypothesis
Data collected by scientists must be : repeatable, observable, empirical, and
measurable.
Evolutionary Concepts:
History:
Ideas on biological evolution traced back 2600 years ago, in ancient Greece
and Asia, to Aristotle and Zhuangzi.
Aristotle: observed that the anatomy of various aquatic mammals and fish
were thousands of years ahead of their time.
Zhuangzi: living things have the power to transform themselves to adapt to
their surroundings.
Carl Linnaeus: Swedish botanist. Interested in classifying plants and
animals. ``the father of modern taxonomy``. Contributed 1) a taxonomic
system. And 2) the binomial nomenclature- a method used to name plants
and animals in Latin terms. Linnaean taxonomy classifies all living things in
ranked hierarchy- from domain to species level- though its been revised the
basics are still used today. Format is : Genus species.
George Louis Leclerc: French mathematician and naturalist. Wrote the
Histoire Naturelle. Ideas on core concepts of biogeography (where organisms
live, at what adundance, and why). Idea that species changed and evolved
after they moved away from the place they were created.
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Jean-Baptiste Lamark: French, soldier and academic. Reformulation and
specification on the idea of how organisms change (that people lose
characteristics they don`t use and develop useful characteristics, which they
pass to their offspring). And that environmental changes could alter
behaviour.
Georges Cuvier: French naturalist. Studied structural similarities and
differences between organisms. Helped establish comparative anatomy and
palaeontology (contrasting tissues of living and extinct orgasims).
Championed the idea of catastophism. Major contribution was his assertion
that species go extinct.
James Hutton: Scottish naturalist and geologist. Contributing to founding
geology as a science. Proposed the idea of upheaval and erosion of
sedimentary rock- form components of uniformitarianism, a geological
principle that says the Earth was formed and has evolved through the same
natural geological processes operating today.
Charles Lyell: Scottish geologist. Contributed to geology, stratigraphy (rock
layers), and glaciology. Main Contribution was his influence on young
European natural historian Charles Darwin.
Darwin and Natural Selection:
English geologist and naturalist. Became a naturalist aboard the HMS
Beagle, for a 2 year sail of South America. Research was to determine how
species evolved.
Idea of natural selection : nature selects favourable variations or traits of
individuals in a species that will allow them to better compete in nature-
because they’re more likely to survive than others. Published On the Origins
of Species.
Mendelian Genetics:
Gregor Mendel, monk in the Czech Republic.
Experimented with the common pea plant, and the physical variations of it.
Selectively bred pure phenotypic plants, then crossbred them to see the traits
of their offspring.
Father of Genetics.
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Document Summary

Anthropology = the global and holistic study of human culture and biology. Holistic = considering all aspects of the research subject. Biological anthropology = the study of human and non human primates in their biological and demographic dimensions: evolutionary anthrolpologists: Seek to answer questions about where we come from, who we are, and why were here. Pr i matology: scientific study of our closest extant biological relatives: non human primate species. Paleoant hropology: the multidisciplinary study of the biological evolution of humans and nonhuman primates. (ie. fossils, and investigating changes in human cultural activities, tool use, subsistence patters, disease, ect) H u man variat ion: to determine spatial and temporal variations in human features. M ed ical ant hropology: study of how social, environmental, and biological factors influence health and illness of individuals at the community, regional, national and global levels.

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