biological anthropology essays

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Biological anthropology essays museum curator resume sample

Biological anthropology essays


Sources in Haviland states that, "Thos There are primarily three subfields of anthropology, or three general areas into which the study of humans can be classified: Cultural anthropology, Archaeology, and Physical or Biological Anthropology. Physical or Biological Anthropology Physical aka Biological anthropology deals with the physical and biological aspects of the primate order: humans, chimps, gorillas, monkeys, prosimians, etc.

While forensic anthropology is an applied field, a large majority of forensic anthropologists are physical anthropology professors developing their careers in a universit Through biological means, or "physical anthropology", we study humans as organisms, specifically by evolution and variation.

According to Barbara Miller's book, "Cultural Anthropology in a Globalizing World," anthropology encompasses three subfields; the first being "primatology" which is the study of the nonhuman members of the order of mammals called primates. Evolution vs Creationism My roommate came in from anthropology class two weeks ago crying because she didn't know if she believed in God anymore. They had discussed Evolution that night and apparently had lots of proof that this theory is true.

Chimps intelligence level is relatively retarded, so how could evolution explain the advancements of humans? During the first year, we are so helpless, parents have to provide a lot of support and physical contact. Among the obvious differences is our physical appearance. The subfields are cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and physical anthropology.

The final subfield, the study of human biology with a concentration between biology and culture, is physical anthropology. Most physical anthropologists study human evolution, focusing on the anatomy and physiology. Physical anthropologists derive their work from the belief that humans are primates, called primatology. There are also other fields within physical anthropology such as: osteology, paleoathology, and forensic anthropology.

Anthropology examines not only who we are as a people, but also, importantly, who we were as a people. Anthropology spans millions of generations, examining the physical and cultural characteristics of humankind. It is interesting to examine how the mechanisms of evolution shape the cultures and species over the passage of time, especially natural selection and the law of competitive isolation. Evolution selected for the larger brained species, but why? A culture's physical and social characteristics are interrelated, and play an important role in the development of a soci They are physical anthropology, cultural anthropology, forensic anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.

All of them serve a different purpose in our attempt to uncover our ancient ancestors evolution into Homo sapiens as we are seen today. I will first start with physical anthropology, which "focuses on humans as biological organisms" Haviland Forensic Anthropology can be linked to physical anthropology due to the fact that Type a new keyword s and press Enter to search.

Essays Related to Evolution and Physical Anthropology 1. Sub feilds of anthropology. Forensic Anthropology. Biological anthropology specializes in human biological variation and adaptation, primate zoology, medical primates, growth and development, functional morphology, orthopedics, forensic anthropology, and paleontology.

It is subdivided into fields. Texas State University offers many of these courses in biology anthropology. Cultural anthropology mainly includes all aspects of current or recent cultural variation. Today, anthropologists use various theoretical methods and research methods to study the culture of people around the world, including the social, political, economic, and ideological aspects of culture.

Currently, there are four major fields in anthropology. Biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archeology. Each research focuses on different research fields and often uses different research methods. These methods range from methods commonly used in social science and human science to methods in biology and geology. Biological anthropology and archeology are often closest to biology and physics science in methods and methods of learning human experience.

Biological anthropology and physical anthropology are synonymous with anthropological studies, chemistry and demographic studies focusing on the biology of human and nonhuman primates. It examines the biological and social factors that influence the evolution of humans and other primates, as well as factors that create, maintain, or alter modern genetic and physiological variability.

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In the anglophone world, the term anthropology is sometimes used exclusively to denote social or cultural anthropology, although by etymology it embraces both fields. Biological anthropology comprises five general subdisciplines: human evolution, primatology, human genetics, the study of human physical growth, and human ecology.

The field has been grounded in the natural sciences and medicine rather than social studies, which on their own have been thought not to provide the requisite biological competence Harrison et al. Despite numerous assertions of the need to integrate these various subdisciplines with archaeology, social anthropology and associated social science fields, in practice few have succeeded in this aim since Franz Boas.

Evolutionary studies in biological anthropology have focused on establishing the taxonomic classificatory and phylogenetic evolutionary relationships between fossil and living primates. In theory, phylogeny provides the necessary basis for taxonomy; but in practice, preliminary phylogenies can permit taxonomy to proceed.

The method of cladistic taxonomy, which has become widely used, proceeds by first demonstrating primitive and derived characteristics of the members of a group, and then determining the derived characteristics shared among them Groves The term hominid refers to populations and species with which humankind shares an evolutionary history excluding any other living primate. The hominid lineage is thought to have evolved between 5 and 10 million years ago.

Studies of hominid evolution have attempted to explain where, how and why the human species evolved, hence a longstanding preoccupation with relationships between fossil hominids and their only surviving subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens Foley However, the co-existence in the fossil record of species of Australopithecus and Homo indicates that the study of hominid origins is not to be equated with that of human origins Lewin These studies have an historical basis in the comparative anatomy which flourished in the eighteenth century.

Their development was greatly influenced by the nineteenth-century works of Charles Darwin and T. Huxley which sought to take the study of humankind away from theology and bring it within the scope of natural history. Their more distant intellectual origins are sometimes sought in the works of Aristotle.

The advent of statistical techniques introduced by Quetelet, Galton and Pearson in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries enabled biometric approaches to become sophisticated Boas []; Barnicot in Harrison et al. A major problem has been separating the anatomical variation characteristic within a species from that expected between species. Why hairless? Why human?

Several competing phylogenies have been proposed and remain controversial. In the s, approaches from evolutionary ecology stressed the importance of understanding the ecological context in which evolutionary developments occurred. This has underpinned approaches to quantifying the costs and benefits of alternative evolutionary strategies.

Humans show some characteristics of both; and primates in general bear precocial offspring Foley For a large-bodied primate, the human shows a relatively large brain and a long period of childhood dependence. Various theories of nutritional constraints on the origins of these properties have been proposed. Some physical properties may take their form and size purely as a function of body weight.

Allometry is a method of comparing animals by scaling features according to body size, and has therefore been an important tool in the analysis of primate relationships. It has been used to argue the central importance of energetic constraints on brain development in determining peculiarly human characteristics Martin The origins of the hominid adaptation of parental provisioning of offspring, extended dependency during childhood and large body size, have been sought in meat-eating, hunting or scavenging, and tool use.

Studies of dental development suggest that an extended childhood was not present in the Australopithecines or Paranthropines. However, the nature and extent of meat acquisition and consumption in hominid evolution is a matter of controversy Ulijaszek and Strickland Theories of the evolution of language are therefore of great importance. However, there may also be advantages of social lubrication which are afforded by grooming behavior in non-human primates. These advantages may be more efficiently achieved by linguistic means in the human, therefore supporting larger social groups Aiello and Dunbar Most contemporary non-human primates inhabit tropical or subtropical climates, although they have not always done so.

The skeletal structure, body size, social behavior and ecology of non-human primates vary considerably across species; and within species there is behavioral variation across ecological zones. Almost all primates are intensely social. Field studies have concerned the social structure and behavior of primate groups, the biological and social control of reproduction, foraging patterns, and the relationships between these components of primate social systems. These studies comprise primate sociobiology; and in that one aim is to explain the evolution of such diversity, it contributes to the broader study of human evolution.

Behavioral studies of primates have used methods of animal ethology. These can give four kinds of explanation for why certain behavioral patterns exist: proximate causes, lying in immediate motivation or physiological processes; ontogenetic causes, which attribute cause to lifetime experiences during development; functional explanations, which attribute causality to the purpose of the behavioral pattern; and evolutionary explanations, which indicate the sequence of behavioral changes leading to the evolution of the pattern in question.

These levels of explanation may interact. Thus all four types of explanation are needed if behavioral patterns are to be explained as part of an integrated biological system Dunbar These types of explanation have tended to treat food and its distribution, the avoidance of predators, and the need to locate mates, as primary determinants of species biology including morphology and life-history patterns.

Some have preferred to think of primates in terms of their ecology and behavior as adaptations which themselves result in morphological characteristics Harrison et al. Application of these methods and concepts to human populations comprises human sociobiology, which can be defined as the systematic study of the biological basis of human social behavior. Early attempts to develop this approach attributed to patterns of human social or cultural diversity a presumptive genetic basis Durham This has been controversial among social anthropologists, and in its crudest form this approach is reminiscent of correlations between racial, cultural and mental variation which were postulated in the decades preceding World War II.

These were examined critically by Franz Boas []. However, the development of theories of the coevolution of biological and cultural characteristics, acknowledging the ways in which they may interact, has been fruitful in the study of diverse marriage patterns, colour terminology, analysis of incest prohibitions, patterns of milk use, and cannibalism Durham Apparent conflicts between approaches taken in non-human primate studies and the concerns of sociocultural anthropology are reconcilable, argues Strier , by exploring variation within non-human primate populations.

The Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection has been central to the development of biological anthropology. Early workers tended to explain human diversity in terms of migrations and intermixtures. Mendelian particulate inheritance of some features was postulated by showing that the variability of quantitative characters in groups of mixed parentage was greater than that of each parental group Boas []. It was not until immunological and biochemical methods enabled identification of blood groups, abnormal haemoglobin variants, and enzyme polymorphisms that particulate inheritance of such specific traits could be demonstrated Barnicot, in Harrison et al.

The study of genetic variation within and between human populations, and that of processes of natural selection through effects of isolation, migration and differential reproductive success, have become well established. For example, the changing prevalence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes in Polynesians has been attributed to the effects of selection against a genotype which, under less affluent conditions, would have had energy-conserving advantages.

A fundamental question has been the degree of interaction between genetic and environmental sources of human biological variation. This has been investigated for many characteristics, including stature, obesity, the milk-sugar digesting enzyme lactase, types of muscle fiber, and IQ. However, the method of comparing identical twins reared together with those reared apart does not adequately separate variation due to genetic inheritance from that attributable to non-genetic inheritance, and tends to overestimate the genetic contribution.

Other statistical methods attempt to overcome this problem Shephard At the subcellular level, the conventional distinction between genetic and environmental sources of phenotypic variation is hard to maintain. There is a growing literature on the ways in which nutrients and genes interact to influence gene expression. The ability to identify individuals by their genetic profiles is useful in forensic investigations. The subdiscipline of forensic anthropology has used a variety of methods of DNA fingerprinting.

It has therefore had an important role in public practice, and enabled the determining of relationships between ethnic groups. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited through the maternal line and comparison across populations suggests their degree of genetic relatedness.

On this basis, relationships between genetic and linguistic classifications of human groups have been examined. The method has also been used to argue that Homo sapiens sapiens originated in Africa rather than in different regions of the world.

In many societies, marriage between close consanguineous relatives is expected to occur, for example between first cousins or between uncle and niece. This has raised questions about the genetic consequences of such marriage patterns and their implications for health. Some studies have reported a high incidence of congenital malformations and post-natal mortality in the offspring of such unions in South Indian groups. Such marriage patterns may be linked to social controls over property and its inheritance.

Studies have also been made of assortative mating for social economic or anthropometric characteristics, and of the relationship between such traits and reproductive success. These illustrate ways in which biological and social anthropological interests can converge: namely in studies of how social stratification may work as a vehicle for processes of natural selection in human groups.

Auxology is the study of growth and development. The classical interest of biological anthropologists in the comparative anatomy of human groups is represented in many respects by contemporary anthropometric studies.

Growth performance in children is a sensitive index of influences of infectious or congenital disease, nutrition, levels of physical activity, and to some degree mental development. As such, the measurement of growth in height, weight and body composition has been an important means of rating the general physical well-being of populations. In turn I shall get intellectual satisfaction and the gratification of becoming a contributor to Essay Bandh In Manipur knowledge through research and the Biological Anthropology Essay greater personal rewards of learning and discovery.

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Essay SampleCheck Writing Quality Biological anthropology, with its emphasis on understanding human biology in social terms, seems to fill the. Biological anthropology, also called physical anthropology, can be an insightful topic for students to research and write about. The essay topics in this. Provide academic inspiration and paragraphs to help you in writing essays and Biological anthropology is a field of anthropology to study human origin.