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Chapter 1

Textbook Chapter 1 Notes

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Heather Miller

Notes From Reading CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY (PGS.1-18) Learning Objectives  Explain and give examples of the relevance of anthropology to modern everyday life  Describe the concept of biocultural evolution and explain why it is an essential component of understanding human evolution  Define basic anthropological concepts and understand their relationship to the goals of anthropological research  Describe the main similarities and differences between physical anthropology and archaeology as approaches for understanding the human past  Explain the logic of the scientific method as it is applied in anthropological research Introduction  Modern human are cultural and biological beings whose present and future reflect their past  Human are unique among animals in the capability to ask the question why  We can learn about our deep, rich past, and by doing so we gain the opportunity to benefit from our experiences  These qualities are fundamental motivations for the field of anthropology and introduction to the bioculture perspective of human evolution  Evolution – a change in the genetic structure of a population from one generation to the next  Also used to refer to the appearance of a new species  Anthropology – the field of inquiry that studies human culture and evolutionary aspects of human biology o Includes cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and physical anthropology o Addresses the entire scope of perspectives of the human experience on what it is to be human  Anthropologist answer many questions by applying the scientific method  Scientific Method – an approach to research whereby a problem is identified, a hypothesis is stated and that hypothesis is tested though the collection and analysis of data  Use interpretive methods to achieve an understanding of such human qualities as love, individual or group identity, compassion and ethnicity The Biocultural Approach  The concept of the biocultural evolution underlies the anthropological perspective  Biocultural Evolution – The mutual, interactive evolution of human biology and culture o The concept that biology makes culture possible and that developing culture further influences the direction of biological evolution o A basic concept in understanding the unique components of human evolution  Humans are the combined influence of biology and culture  Culture – all aspects of human adaptation, including technology, traditions, language, religion and social roles o Culture is a set of learned behaviors o It is transmitted from one generation to the next through learning and not by biological or genetic means o Can also include technological ie. Stone tools  Species – a group of organisms that can interbreed to produce fertile offspring o Members of one species are reproductively isolated from members of all other species o Ie. They cant mate with them to produce fertile offspring  Culture is an extremely important concept, not only as it pertains to modern humans but also in terms of its critical role in human evolution,  Religion, values, social organization, language, kinship, marriage rules, gender roles are all aspects of culture  Culture shapes people’s perceptions of the external environment and the ways that distinguish society from all others  Society – a group of people who share a common culture Notes From Reading CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCTION TO A NTHROPOLOGY (PGS.1-18)  Culture is learned, not biologically determined  Enculturation – an eighteenth-century philosophical movement in western Europe that assumed a knowable order to the natural world and the interpretative value of reason as the primary means of identifying and explaining this order  Evolution is a change in the genetic makeup of a population from one generation to the next  During the course of human evolution, biological interactions have resulted in such anatomical, biological, and behavioral changes o As the increased brain size, reorganization of neurological structures, decreased tooth size, and the development of language  Biologists study all the biological aspects of humankind, including adaptation and evolution, but when such research also considers the role of cultural factors, it falls to anthropology  Adaptation – functional response of organisms or populations to the environment o Results from evolutionary change (specifically, as a result of natural selection) What is Anthropology?  Anthropology is the study of humankind  Derived from Greek, anthropos meaning “human” and logos meaning “word” or “study of”  Anthropology has a broad perspective which integrates the finding of many disciplines, including sociology, economic, history, psychology and biology Cultural Anthropology  Cultural Anthropology (aka social anthropology) is the study of all aspects of human behavior  Enlightenment – an eighteenth-century philosophical movement in western Europe that assumed a knowable order to the natural world and the interpretive value of reason as the primary means of identifying and explaining this order  Ethnographies – detailed descriptive studies of human societies o In cultural anthropology, ethnography is traditionally the study of non-Western societies  The subfield of cultural anthropology that deals with issues of inner cities is called urban anthropology  Medical anthropology is the subfield that explores the relationship between various cultural attributes and health and disease  Applied anthropology involves practical applications that are pursued by anthropologists working both within and outside university setting Physical Anthropology  Physical Anthropology (aka biological anthropology) is the study of human biology within the framework of evolution and with an emphasis on the interaction between biology and culture  Interest of biological change over time were fanned into flames by the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859  Paleoanthropology – the study of human evolution, particularly as revealed in the fossil record is a major subfield of physical anthropology o The interdisciplinary approach to the study of earlier hominins – their chronology, physical structure, archaeological remains, habitats, etc.  The goal of paleoanthropological research is to identify the various early hominin species, establish a chronological sequence of relationships among them, and gain insights into their adaptation and behavior  Hominin – a member of the tribe Hominini, the evolutionary group that includes modern humans and now-extinct bipedal relatives  Physical anthropologists use many of the techniques of anthropometry to study skeletal remains from archaeological sites  Anthropometry – measurement of human body parts  When osteologists measure skeletal elements, the term osteometry is often used  Anthropologists are concerned with human variation because of its adaptive significance and because they want to identify the evolutionary factors that have produced variability Notes From Reading CHAPTER 1:INTRODUCTION TO A NTHROPOLOGY (PGS.1-18)  Some physical anthropologists examine other aspects of human variation, including how various groups response physiologically to different kinds of environmentally induced stress  Genetics – the study of gene structure and action and of the patterns of inheritances of traits from parent to offspring o Genetic mechanisms are the underlying foundation for evolutionary change  Molecular Anthropologists use cutting-edge technologies to investigate evolutionary relationships between human populations as well as between humans and non human primates  Primates – members of the mammalian order Primates which includes prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans  Primatology – the study of non-human primates o The study of the biology and behavior of nonhuman primates (prosimians, monkeys, and apes)  Reasons to study primates: o Nonhuman primates are the closest relatives to humans o Factors relating to social behavior, communicant, infant care, reproductive behavior etc., help shape aspects of modern human behavior o Most species are threatened or seriously endangered  Primate Paleontology is the study of the primate fossil record, has implications not only for non human primates but also for hominins  Osteology – is the study of the skeleton o Human osteology focuses on the interpretation of the skeletal remains of past groups o Some of the same techniques are used in paleoanthropology to study early hominins  Bone biology and physiology are also major importance aspects of physical anthropology  Paleopathology – the branch of osteology that studies the traces of disease and injury’s in human skeletal (or, occasionally, mummified) remains o Subfield that investigates the prevalence of trauma, certain infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and other evidence of bones o Also provides history pertaining to the history of certain disease processes, making it of interest to scientists in biomedical fields  Forensic Anthropology – an applied anthropological approach dealing with legal matters o Forensic anthropologists with coroners and law enforcement agencies in the recovery, analysis and identification of human remains o It is directly related to osteology and paleopathology Archaeology  Archaeology is a body of methods designed to understand the human past through the examination and study of its material remains  Primary data: artifacts, material culture, associations and contextual information created by past peoples and preserved  Artifacts – objects or materials made or modified for use by hominins o The earliest artifacts tend to be tools made of stone or, occasionally, bone
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