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ANTH-UA 2 Study Guide - Hominidae, Natural Selection, James Hutton

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Richard Bailey

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Evolutionary Theory
Typological Thinking
The Greeks: Plato and Aristotle’s Essentialism
Attempt at understanding and ordering the natural world
Eidos (idea or type) - the only thing that is fixed and real
Observed variation is nor more real than shadows on a cave wall
Gaps in nature are real - represent discontinuities between types
Immutability of species - unalterable fixity of essence
The Great Chain of Being
Scala naturae - ladder of nature from God to dirt
Life arranged in orderly, hierarchical ladder
Humans on top, various groups below
Groups ranked according to elements (land, air, water)
Each had “primate” - chief or highest ranking member
Primate - chief bishop/archbishop C13
Primates - members of the order Primates, C18
Carl Linnaeus and Systema Naturae
Botanist, inventor of modern biological classification
Introduced the order Primates - the animal primate
First time humans are included in a mammalian order
Humans in Hominidae; great apes in Pongidae
Binomial nomenclature - Genus species
Modern taxonomy reflects phylogeny
Phylogeny - the history of descent of a group of taxa from their common ancestor,
including their order of branching and their dates of divergence
Progress in Evolutionary Thought
Erasmus Darwin (Grandfather of Charles Darwin)
“Strongest and most active animal should propagate the species, which should thence
become improved” - Darwin, Zoonomia (1794)
Translated Linnaeus’s work to English
Zoonomia on pathology and anatomy
Early ideas about evolution
Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism
Georges Cuvier - “father of comparative anatomy”
Function determines form, animals are suited for their environments
Principal of correlation of parts: organisms as integrated wholes
Modification would impair functional integrity; no evolution
Similarities between organisms result from shared functions
“Types” of elephants - no relatedness, just shared functions
Extinction as evidence for catastrophic disasters that wiped out past life forms;
new creations/migrations replaced them
James Hutton and Charles Lyell
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