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ANT203Y1 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Medical History, Evolutionary Anthropology, Scientific Method

Course Code
Michelle Cameron
Study Guide

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Information summary
What is evolutionary anthropology?
Historical views nature and
What are some key theoretical
What types of research do
evolutionary anthropologists do?
Theory and history I
The scientific method
Why do we use the scientific
Evolutionary theory
What are the major ideas that
led to the development of
evolutionary theory?
History and debates
Theory and history II
Darwin and natural selection
What are the conditions for
natural selection?
What are the different types of
What has changed from
Darwin’s time until today?
Mendel and heredity
What were Mendel’s principles
of heredity?
What has changed from
Mendel’s time until today?
Contemporary evolutionary theory
How do we integrate
evolutionary theory and
The building blocks of life
What are the different
components of a cell?
Genetics 101
Normal transfer of genetic
Errors and changes to
genetics information

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Human skeletal biology
Skeletal biology 101
What tissues and structures
contribute to bone?
The human skeleton
Types and names of bones
Features and components
Applications of skeletal biology
What can we learn from
human skeletal remains?
How is skeletal biology studied
in health research?
Modern human variation I
Classic inheritance and heredity in
modern humans
What human traits have
Mendelian inheritance?
Complex mechanisms
What is the difference between
monogenic, polygenic, and
pleiotropic traits?
Modern human variation II
What changes do we go through in
different environments?
Human variation
How do we respond to diverse
climates? Altitude? Sun
Role of culture
How do cultural processes
change our genes and
A history of “race”
How did we get these categories?
How have they been used/abused in
the past?
What influences do they have today?
Epidemiology and demography
Terms and definitions for
Factors that may influence
patterns of health and disease
Transitions across human history
What do we know about health
and demography in the past?

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Where are we now, what is our
Topic 1: Introduction
What is evolutionary anthropology?
Definition: Study of the evolution of the behavioral and biological traits of
humans, our primate relatives, and our ancestors as well as our current biological
similarities and differences
Human biology
Osteology (bones=the thing that links us the most)
Primatology (morphology, behaviour, conservation)
Historical views of nature and variation
Anthropology = study of people from social, cultural, linguistic, archaeological,
and biological perspective
Evolutionary anthropology = study of people, their ancestors and close relatives
from biological frameworks
How culture and biology work together (bio-cultural approach)
Holistic and comparative approaches
Holistic = characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as
intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole
6 blind men and an elephant (they are all touching different parts
of the elephant, must describe what they are touching; they all
have a different idea of it, mist look at the entire picture)
Knowing in relation to other stuff (e.g. small body vs. big body)
Different levels of comparison
Neutral comparison, not ranking
What are some key theoretical perspectives?
What types of research do evolutionary anthropologists do? (examples)
Adaptation and plasticity; skeleton adapts to environment, Pleistocene population
dynamics in Central Asia (archaic introgression into modern humans), plasticity
of the bony labyrinth, lemur conservation, sleep biology, dental microstructures...
Very accomodating field
Behaviour (responses to internal/external stimuli)
E.g. out in the sun, feel like a sunburn, go in the shade = behaviour
Culture (set of learned behaviours transmitted between generations with non-genetic
means to adapt to environment)
Conditioned to it as we grow up, not genetic
E.g. the way we see our family, what food we eat
Biocultural approach
Biology and culture cannot be separated
Topic 2: Theory and history I
The scientific method
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