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Chapter 2

Anthro 1026F/G Chapter 2 Notes

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Anthropology 1026F/G
Alexis Dolphin

Anthropology: Chapter 2 - Discovery of Evolutionary principles first occurred in western Europe • Charles Darwin – first to explain the basics of evolution  developed theory of natural selection  at the same time, Alfred Russel Wallace reached the same conclusion (independently) - Natural selection: critical mechanism of evolutionary change: refers to genetic change or changes in the frequencies of certain traits in populations due to differential reproductive successes between individuals - Fixity of species: notion that once a species is created, it can never change • This opposed to theories of biological evolution • A widespread belief during the Middle Ages  Influenced / shaped by: • hierarchical society (rigid class system) that hadn’t changed for centuries • powerful religious system and teachings of Christianity taken literally  generally accepted that all life on earth had been created by God as it existed in the present, and the belief that life-forms could not change: fixity of species • plan of entire universe = viewed as God’s design • Notion of earth’s brief existence (as well as fixity of species) = huge obstacle for development of evolutionary theory  evolution requires time - Took long time for Europe to break traditional beliefs • Discovery of the New World and circumnavigation of the globe in the 15 th century overturned basic beliefs  planet now not thought of as flat • Awareness of biological diversity expanded as New World = explored • 1514 Copernicus challenged notion that the earth was the centre of the universe (originally proposed by Aristotle)  Sun = centre of universe (actually discovered by Indian scholars) • Credit = given to Copernicus • Invention of telescope: could see natural phenomena • YET: people still could not comprehend life forms changing over time (evolution) People: 1) John Ray: th - 17 century - Minister of education at Cambridge University - Developed concept of species  based on mating ability - By the late 1600s, biological criterion of reproduction was used to define species - Species shared similarities with other species = genus 2) Carlos Linnaeus - 1707 – 1778 - Swedish naturalist - Developed method of classifying plants and animals - Binomial nomenclature: genus and species names are used to refer to species (eg. homo sapiens refers to human beings  homo = genus, sapiens = species) - Added two more categories: class and order - Four-level system = basis for taxonomy • Taxonomy: branch of science concerned with rules of classifying organisms on the basis of evolutionary relationships - Included humans in classification of animals 3) George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon - 1707 – 1788 - Keeper of the King’s Gardens in Paris
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