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Chapter 1

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University of Texas at Austin
ANT 301

1 Introduction to Physical Anthropology Hominins- members of the evolutionary lineage that includes ourselves, modern Homo sapiens, and extinct bipedal relatives Bipedally- walked on two feet Savanna- a large flat grassland with scattered trees and shrubs. Savannas are found in many regions of the world with dry and warm-to-hot climates. Species- a group of organisms that can interbreed to produce fertile offspring; Members of one species are reproductively isolated from members of all other species (That is, they can’t mate with them to produce fertile offspring). Primates- members of the order of mammals Primates, which includes lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans Evolution- a change in the genetic structure of a population (Macroevolution); The term is also sometimes used to refer to the appearance of a new species (Microevolution). Adaption- an anatomical, physiological, or behavioral response of organisms or populations to the environment; Adaptions result from evolutionary change (specifically, as a result of natural selection). Genetic- pertaining to genetics, the study of gene structure and action and the patterns of transmission of traits from parent to offspring. Genetic mechanisms are the foundation for evolutionary change. Culture- behavioral aspects of human adaption, including technology, traditions, language, religion, marriage patterns, and social roles; Culture is a set of learned behaviors transmitted from one generation to the next by non-biological (non-genetic) means. Worldview- general cultural orientation or perspective shared by members of a society. Behavior- anything organisms do that involves action in response to internal or external stimuli. The response of an individual, group, or species to its environment; Such responses may or may not be deliberate, and they aren’t necessarily the results of conscious decision making. Biocultural Evolution- the mutual, interactive evolution of human biology and culture; the concept that biology makes culture possible and that developing culture further influences the direction of biological evolution; a basic concept in understanding the unique components of human evolution. 2 Anthropology- the field of inquiry that studies human culture and evolutionary aspects of human biology; includes cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and physical, or biological, anthropology. Applied Anthropology- the practical application of anthropological and archeological theories and techniques. For example, many biological anthropologists work in the public health sector. Ethnographies- detailed descriptive studies of human societies. In cultural anthropology, an ethnography is traditionally the study of a non-Western society. Cultural Anthropology – also called social anthropology, is the study of the global patterns of belief and behavior found in modern and historical cultures. Medical Anthropology – an applied subfield of cultural anthropology that explores the relationship between various cultural attributes and health and disease. Archaeology – the study of cultures and lifeways by anthropologists who specialize in the scientific recovery, analysis, and interpretations of the material remains of past societies. Artifacts- objects or materials made or modi
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