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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 Notes

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University of Texas at Austin
ANT 301

1 Chapter 12: Human Variation and Adaption Linnaeus’s taxonomic classification- placed humans into 4 separate categories; assigned behavioral and intellectual qualities to each group with the least complimentary descriptions to dark-skinnedAfricans. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach- classified humans into 5 races (white, yellow, red, black, and brown); emphasized that categories based on skin color were arbitrary and that many traits, including skin color, weren’t discrete phenomena and that their expression overlapped in groups. Biological determinism- that concept that phenomena, including various aspects of behavior (e.g. intelligence, values, morals) are governed by biological (genetic) factors; the inaccurate association of various behavioral attributes with certain biological traits, such as skin color. Francis Galton- feared that “civilized society” was being weakened by the failure of natural selection to eliminate unfit and inferior members; he lectured on the necessity of “race improvement” aka eugenics. Eugenics- the philosophy of “race improvement” through the forced sterilization of members of some groups and increased reproduction among others; an overly simplified, often racist view that’s now discredited Polytopic- referring to species composed of populations that differ in the expression of one or more traits People who have particular combinations of these and other traits have been placed together in categories associated with specific geographical localities; such categories are called races— geographically patterned phenotypic variation with a species. Ethnicity—refers to cultural factors Before World War II, most studies of human variation focused on visible phenotypic variation between large, geographically defined populations (descriptive studies); now, the emphasis has shifted to examining differences in allele frequencies within and between populations as well as considering the adaptive significance of phenotypic and genotypic variation. Typological- categories are distinct and based on stereotypes or ideals that comprise a specific set of traits Polygenic- characteristics that are influenced by several genes and therefore exhibit a continuous range of expression Intelligence- mental capacity; the ability to learn, reason, or comprehend and interpret information, facts, relationships, and meanings; the capacity to solve problems, whether through the application of previously acquired knowledge or through insight. 2 Polymorphism- Loci with more than one allele; polymorphisms can be expressed in the phenotype as the result of genes action (as inABO), or they can exist solely at the DNAlevel within noncoding regions. Cline- a gradual change in the frequency of genotypes and phenotypes from one geographical region to another In humans, various expressions of many polymorphic traits exhibit a more or less continuous distribution from one region to another, and most of the traits that have been shown to have a clinal distribution are Mendelian. Microsatellites- areas of nucleotide duplication All human populations outside Africa have much less genetic variation than African populations’ exhibit Slash-and-burn agriculture- a traditional land-clearing practice involving the cutting and burning of trees and vegetation; in many areas, fields are abandoned after a few years and clearing occurs elsewhere. Lactase persistence- in adults, the continued production of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose (milk sugar); this allows adults in some human populations to digest fresh milk products. The discontinued production of lactase in adults leads to lactose intolerance and the inability to digest fresh milk. Population genetics- the study of the frequency of alleles, genotypes, and phenotypes in populations from a micro-evolutionary perspective Population- a group of interbreeding individuals that share a common gene pool (the total complement of genes shared by the reproductive members of a population) Breeding isolates- populations that are clearly isolated geographically and/or socially from other breeding groups Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium- the mathematical relationship expressing, under conditions in which no evolution is occurring, the predicted distribution of alleles in populations; the central theorem of population genetics. Several factors that act to change allele frequencies: 1. New variation (new alleles produced by mutation) 2. Redistribution variation (gene flow or gene drift) 3. Selection of “advantageous” allele combinations that promote reproductive success (natural selection) Stress- in a physiological context, any factor that acts to disrupt homeostasis; more precisely, the body’s response
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