anthro textbook.docx

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Michael Schillaci

1 Introduction to Evolutionary Anthropology: Chapter 1 Anthropology is holistic – consists of socio-cultural anthropology (comparison of societies and cultures), linguistic and semiotic anthropology (language and communication), archeology (material evidence of human’s ancestor’s past), medical anthropology (human health and culture), and biological anthropology (study of human and non-human primates). What Do Evolutionary Anthropologist Study? Evolutionary anthropology – specialize in primatology, paleoanthropology, human variation, medical anthropology, and forensic anthropology. Primatology – study of non-human primate species Paleoanthropology – biological evolution of humans and non-human primates They excavate fossils and study changes in human cultural activities. They also study the evolutionary history of behaviour in human and non-human primates. Human variation – determine spatial and temporal variations. There are not only variations in outer appearance but there are also skeletal and dental variations. Medical Anthropology – study of how social, environmental, and biological factors influence health and illness of individuals. Investigate spatial and temporal variations in human survival, disease, and health disparity. How Do Evolutionary Anthropologists Conduct Their Research? There are three types of research: descriptive, casual, and applied Descriptive – collect data about the study subject or objects (doesn’t provide reason for results obtained in other words they do not demonstrate casual relationships) Causal research – looking for one thing that causes another thing to occur (cause and effect relationships) Applied research – determines means by specific steps A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that incorporates facts, laws, predictions, and tested hypotheses. A common theory is based upon personal opinion A hypothesis is a testable statement about the natural world that a researcher uses to build inferences (reasoning to build up a conclusion) and explanations. Scientists make sure that the hypothesis is falsifiable (disproves the hypothesis). Scientists use observations from past experiments to formulate and test a hypothesis. Evolutionary anthropologists use the scientific method. There are five sequential processes: 1. Observation of the phenomena 2. Formulation of a hypothesis 3. Developing methods to test the validity of the hypothesis 4. Experimentation 5. Conclusion that supports or modifies the hypothesis. 2 The scientific method constructed by the scientists must be repeatable, observable, empirical, and measurable. The data collected can either be quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (non-numerical). Development of Evolutionary Concepts Name of scientists Contributions to the theory of evolution Aristotle Observed the anatomy of many aquatic fish and indicated that they 2600 years ago were thousands of years ahead of their time Zhuangzi Suggested that living things have the power to transform themselves 2400 years ago to adapt to their surroundings Carl Linnaeus (1707 – Classified plants and animals 1778) He introduced the taxonomic system Swedish botanist Introduced the binomial nomenclature (scientific method for assigning names to species and genra) George-Louis Leclerc 36- volume Histoire Naturelle (1749 – 1788) (1707-1778) This book allowed us to form the core concepts of biogeography. French aristocrat He also believed that species changed and evolved after they moved mathematician and away from the place they were created. naturalist Jean- Baptist Lamarck Reformulated and specified how organisms change (1744 – 1829) Organisms lose characteristics that they don’t use and develop French soldier and useful characteristics that the individual can pass on to their academic offsprings. He believed the changes occurred due to an unknown nervous fluid. He also theorized that environmental factors could change behaviour and biological organs. Lamarckism – theory of inheritance of acquired characters and soft inheritance (not accepted) It is important to note that he believed the changes occurs within an individual throughout their lifetime  wrong Georges Cuvier (1769 – Published structural similarities and differences between organisms 1832) aristocratic (comparative anatomy and paleontology) French naturalist Contribution to the evolutionary theory = comparative anatomy of extant and extinction of mammals (against the religious belief of fixity of species: species are created by god and will always exist) Catastrophism – the idea that catastrophic events alter geological features and caused the extinction of plants and animals this view challenges the earth’s age At that time the earth was believed to be 5700 years old (biblical interpretation) James Hutton Upheaval and erosion of sedimentary rocks has occurred for (1726-1797) millions of years Scottish naturalist and Uniformitarianism – a theory that natural processes, such as geologist
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