Biological Anthropology Exam #1

The study of human populations and cultures in evolutionary, historical, and comparative frameworks
General characteristics of anthropology
1. Holistic (draws from many other fields)
2. Want to understand the range of human variation
3. Involves field work
4 subfields of anthropology
1. Cultural anthropology (ethnography)
2. Archaeology
3. Linguistic anthropology
4. Physical (biological anthropology)
Subfields of biological anthropology
1. Paleoanthropology
2. Human osteology
3. Forensic anthropology
4. Primatology
5. Anthropological genetics
6. Human biology/human adaptation
Study the fossil remains of hominid evolution, not studying dinosaurs
Human Osteology
Study of bones in recent & prehistoric humans
Forensic Anthropology
Specialized human osteologists, they study bones in recent & prehistoric times in a legal context, learn the human skeleton and then learn what trauma does to the human skeleton
The study of primates – comparative anatomy, behavior, evolution, & ecology
Anthropological genetics
Genetic change is the underlying foundation for evolutionary change:
1. Genetic structure & action
2. Inheritance patterns
3. Species relationships
Human biology/human adaptation
The study of biological variation in modern population & how it is adapted to and influenced by ecological and social factors. Ex: people’s response to high altitudes – some can’t stop throwing up, others black out, others are fine
The Big 3 Unifying Themes in Biological Anthropology (not mutually exclusive)
1. Evolutionary Model
2. Biocultural Model
3. Comparative Model
Evolutionary Model
Origins of variation, ultimate level of explanation, Ex: study bone density, level of body fat, avg body temperature, metabolism – tends to burn a lot more calories than the avg person, body makeup
Biocultural Model
Interaction of biology and culture – not either biology or culture, but both biology and culture. Ex: breast feeding on schedule vs. on demand – on demand breast milk is much fattier and has more nutrients; impacts of your diet, fat takes more energy to process which can keep you warmer
Comparative Model
Across primates, throughout time, among contemporary human populations. Ex: how primates adapted into humans – amount of hair, Neanderthals were built for cold environments & died when it got warm
Scientific Theory
Only means that it has not been proven wrong
Scientific Method
*Designed to disprove things (NOT prove them)
*Assumes there is an objective, natural (non-supernatural) reality that can be understood through observation
*Relies on principle of parsimony (simplest way)
Scientific Method Steps
1. Observe – Amy saw the sky was blue
2. Question – she wants to know why it is blue
3. Hypothesis – someone has encased the earth in blue cellophane
4. Test – she will fly a rocket into the sky and try to rip the cellophane
5. Results – she never hits the cellophane and orbits the earth and then comes up with a new hypothesis
A way of knowing based on…
Observation (empirical evidence), generalization, verification (testing), building on previous developments/cumulative
Pre-Darwinian theories (Biblical & classical interpretations)
*Plato – Forms
*Great Chain of Being: Aristotle, later adopted by church, linear, hierarchy, divine creation of nature, static/non-evolutionary
*Young Earth – James Ussher
Scientific Revolution
*Heliocentric Universe
*Copernicus & Galileo
European Global Exploration
Diversity, variation, & the unknown
*Swedish naturalist
*Classification system of plants & animals
*Father of Taxonomy
*Binomial nomenclature
*Static + Hierarchical
*All that is on the Earth has always been on the Earth, things do not and have not changed
*What god creates, Linnauis classifies”
*French naturalist
*Thought earth was much older than biblical interpretation
*Change in species
*Dynamic relationship with environment & animals
*”There are fish in the sea & not in the air for a reason”
*Father of Zoology, Paleontology
*Came up with concept of extinction
*Fixity of Species – the species that exist now are just the species that are leftover
*Catastrophism – fossils, multiple creation events
*Found of modern geology
*Old Earth – “Geologic Time”, says that earth may be billions of years old
*Tried to explain evolution with concept called inheritance of acquired characteristics
*Interaction with environment
*View of evolution: giraffe example: original short-necked ancestor → keeps stretching neck to reach leaves higher up on tree → and continues stretching until neck becomes progressively longer → long-necked descendent after many generations
Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics
*Acquire characters during life
*Pass onto offspring
What happens today has always happened (geologically speaking), tectonic plates have always been moving, volcanoes going off, etc.
*Beagle voyage
*Galapagos Islands – fauna similar to that on mainland (South America), but the variation between the animals on the islands was far greater than variation of the animals on the mainland
*Artificial selection
*Mockingbirds, barnacle, & finch
While population growth is exponential, resources are not
Natural Selection
*Influenced by Malthus –> struggle for existence & survival of the fittest
*Wallace & Darwin jointly presented papers on natural selection
*Darwin didn’t publish at first because he didn’t want to be mocked by the scientific community
*Natural selection is differential SURVIVAL and REPRODUCTION
Struggle for existence
Competition for limited resources
Survival of the fittest
More offspring born than can survive
Evolution by natural selection
*Populations increase faster than food supply
*Heritable variation in populations
*Competition for resources
*Environment determines advantageous traits
*Organisms with advantageous variations are favored (longer survival & reproductive success)
A change in gene frequency over time, who survives in a particular environment
*Darwin’s definition: a change in population’s characteristics over time
Different sized beaks affect the finches ability to pick up different sized seeds
Comparative Anatomy
1. Homology
2. Analogy
3. Vestigial structures
Homology/Homologous Traits
Similar structures, often different functions, all of this hints at a common ancestor (limb bones)
Analogy/Analogous Traits
Similar function, different structure (e.g., eyes or wings of a bat, bird or insect)
Vestigial Structures
Retentions with no function (e.g., pelvic bones in whales)
Darwin’s problems
Variation (origin of variation) & Maintenance (how is variation passed from one generation to the next)
Trait Inheritance
Proposal that traits are passed from parent to offspring
*Gemmules containing hereditary information from every part of the body coalesce in the gonads and are incorporated into the reproductive cells
*Darwin made up this whole theory to answer questions about genetics & why kids look like their parents
Evidence for natural selection
*Daphne Major Island
*Peppered moth
*Antibiotic resistance
Daphne Major Island
*Small island in the middle of nowhere, isolated since nothing leaves & nothing arrives
*They mapped out the island in a grid and tagged all of the birds
*Discovered that beak size is heritable & correlated with food items and different foods require different energy to break
*Drought came along, which made natural selection sweep in the other direction – the big beeked birds made a comeback with the drought since they could crack the hard seeds from the only remaining food source (the castuses)
Peppered Moth
*Soot & smog covered the trees during the industrial revolution
*The darker moths blended in & the lighter moths stood out, so the predators picked off the conspicuous lighter moths
*The opposite happened in different areas
Antibiotic Resistance
TB, 20% of cases globally are resistant to first line antibiotics, penicillin doesn’t work anymore as a result of antibiotic resistance
*24 rabbits released into the wild in Australia for hunting
*Soon became a menace with 10 billion rabbits roaming
*Australia built a fence around the entire country, but the rabbits dug under it
*Govt released a disease to kill off the rabbits
*99.9% of all rabbits killed, but the 0.1% of surviving rabbits had an innate immunity to infection
*The remaining rabbits bred and now there population is back up again
The mechanisms that determine natural selection
1. Which characteristics (physical or behavioral) are best suited for the environment
2. Will persist in succeeding generations, given a stable environment
3. Advantageous characters become numerous in future populations at the expense of less favorable characteristics
Measuring Fitness
*Natural selection acts on genetic variation so that the genes for ‘fit’ phenotypes increase in a population
*A single parent struggling to raise two kids is considered to be the most “fit”
Lamarck vs. Darwin
Lamarck: variation exists because of environment, individuation efforts affect physical structure, individual level, goal-oriented, directionality

Darwin: variation exists naturally, offspring inherit characteristics from parents, environment dependent – some characters more beneficial than others, not goal-oriented, no directionality

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