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ANTHROP 1AA3 Chapter Notes -Linguistic Anthropology, Osteology, Primatology

Course Code
Tracy Prowse

of 6
4/28/2013 10:58:00 PM
First contact:
- the initial encounters between people of different societies
- Draws upon a variety of field methods, techniques, and approaches which
have 2 major goals
1. Uniqueness and diversity of human behaviour and societies around the
2. Discover the fundamental similarities that link human beings throughout
the world in the past and present
goals are accomplished by anthropologists undertaking systematic
case studies of people living in particular locations, in the past and
present, and use comparative techniques to assess the similarities
and differences among societies
- Anthropology: the systematic study of humankind.
- Anthropo meaning “human beings” or “Humankind” and logia meaning the
study of.
- different from other disciplines that study humankind because it has four
subdisciplines that bridge the natural science, social sciences, and
humanities together
Four subdisciplines/subfields
1. Physical anthropology
2. Archaeology
3. linguistic anthropology
4. cultural anthropology/ethnology
subdisciplines initially emerged in western society in an attempt to
understand non-western peoples
Europeans began exploring and colonizing in the 15th century, and began
finding other people of different races and cultures. They recorded their
appearance, customs and beliefs forming Anthro
by the 19th century, Anthro had developed into a primary disciplinary and
science for understanding these non-Western societies and cultures
Physical Anthropology:
- the branch of anthropology concerned with humans as biological species
most closely related to the natural sciences
- Conduct research in 2 major areas
1. Human evolution
- Fossils: the fragmentary remains of bones and living materials preserved
from earlier periods
study of human evolution through the analysis of fossils is call
paleoanthropology- the study of old or prehistoric
Paleoanthropologists use a variety of scientific techniques to date, classify
and compare fossil cines to determine the links btwn modern humans and
their biological ancestors.
Work closely with archaeologists when studying ancient tools and activity
areas in order to learn more about the behaviour of the early human
- Primatology- the study of primates
primates are the mammals that belong to the same overall biological
classification as humans- share the same physical characteristics and a close
evolutionary relationship with us
observe primates in their natural habitats to ascertain the differences
between other primates and humans- it may provide insight into the
behaviours of early human ancestors
2. modern human variation
- study human variation by measuring physical characteristics- body size,
blood types, differences in skin color or differences in genetic traits
- research aims at explaining why such variations occur, while documenting
the differences in human populations
- osteology: physical anthropologists study the human skeleton
wide range of applications- identifying murder victims from fragmentary
skeletal remains to the design of ergonomic airplane cockpits
Physical anthropologists
- interested in evaluation how disparate physical characteristics reflect
evolutionary adaptations to different environmental conditions- shedding
light on why human populations vary.
Answer general questions about humanity- such as the use of violence in
human societies: Philip Walker’s study shows that from the observation of
traumatic injuries in past human skulls there has been a history of violence
and cannibalism through out human prehistory.
It also shows that the frequency of prehistoric human violence s associated
with climatic changes that resulted in crop failure
-Helps us understand our condition in the contemporary era
- genetics: the study of the biological blueprints that dictate the inheritance
of physical characteristics
genetics identifies some genetic sources of diseases, such as sickle anemia,
cystic fibrosis, and tay-sachs disease.
Helps determines natural selection- how some people can survive
environmental conditions and sustain the elements- through the adaptation
of genes passed down that are inherited
- Lecture: (Tuesday January 8th)
What is anthropology?
- historical:
reconstructs of early hominids (really early humans)
how did we come to be the way we are? What forces in the past have
shaped us?
- Comparative:
what do all humans have in common? How do we differ? What are some of
the reasons for this difference? (languages, belief systems, how did they
develop, etc.)
- Contextual
What circumstances, environments and beliefs (= context) shape human
- Holistic
looking at the whole picture
How can we understand the entire picture of the human condition, both
biological and cultural?
The 4 subfields have different areas of specialization
- Cultural Anthro: Dr. Petra Rethmann
the study of contemporary cultures and societies,
Culture: transmitted, learned behaviour
methodology: participant observation (p. 7)
learning the language and involvement within the culture they are studying