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Chapter 4

ANT101H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Tuberculosis, Rickets, Vasodilation

Course Code
Sherry Fukuzawa

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Chapter 4
Genocidal and ethnic cleansing tell us we have long way to go before tolerance
becomes norms
Research indicating differences among people even at the level of single nucleotides
Human species genetically uniform particularly when compared to other species
Historical Views of Human Variation
First scientific attempt to describe variation among human was Linnaeus taxonomic
classification – placed humans into 4 separate categories. Reflected the almost
universal European ethnocentric view that Europeans were superior to everyone else
Blumenbach – categorized into 5 races (white, yellow, red, black and brown), pointed out
classifying humans into such a system would omit everyone who didn’t neatly fall into
specific category
Fact that non-European’s were not Christian suggested they were uncivilized, implied
inferiority of intellect  view rooted in biological determinism – suggests there is an
association between physical characteristics and such attributes as intelligence, morals,
values, abilities and even social and economic status – cultural variation believed to be
inherited same way biological differences were …suggest some groups naturally
superior to others
Francis Galton (Darwin’s cousin) – feared that 19th century European’s being weakened
by failure of natural selection to eliminate unfit and inferior members, suggested race
improvement by government regulation of marriage and family size which he coined
Eugenics used as scientific justification during Nazi period to condemn millions of people
to death
The Concept of Race
All humans members of polytypic species
Races – categories associated with specific geographical localities. A term with
biological connotations and social significance.
Sex and age also important contribution to social identity
Persons biological and/or ethnic background still factor that influences how he or she
initially perceived and judged by others
Biologists generally never use term race anymore, talk about population or subspecies
20th century application of evolutionary principle replaced view of race based solely on
observed phenotype
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Amount of genetic variation between groups vastly exceeded by variation that exists
within groups
Skin and eye colour can yield information about population adaptation, genetic drift,
mutation and gene flow. Most important identification of crime victims are sex, age,
statue and ancestry (racial and ethnic background)
Difficult to group because could share a number of other traits. Ex. different skin colour
same blood type and eye colour
Variation on themes of race continue to be most common view of human variation
Contemporary interpretations of human variation
Expect understanding of human biological variation adaptation to dramatically increase
Human Polymorphisms
Refers to traits that differ in expression between populations and individuals
ABO frequencies differ O common in indigenous populations of South America,
northern Australia – probably due to genetic drift (founder effect)
Polymorphisms at the DNA level
CNV copy number variants DNA segments that are repeated, some a few times,
some hundreds of times
Microsatellite – segments that vary tremendously like DNA fingerprint
SNP – single nucleotide polymorphisms – point mutation
Whole genome
Human Bio- cultural Evolution
Culture defined as human strategy of adaptation
Means environment dominated by culture
Geographic distribution of lactase persistence related to a history of cultural dependence
on fresh milk products
Cultural factors initiated specific evolutionary changes
Lactase persistence – ability to digest fresh milk
Population Genetics
Area of research that among other things, examines allele frequencies in populations
and attempts to identify various factors that cause allele frequencies to change over time
Population – group of interbreeding individuals that share a common gene pool
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