Physical Anthropology Chapter 1

Biological changes over time can be due to ______ or ________.
evolutionary or nonevolutionary
By evolutionary changes, we mean
the changes resulted in genetic changes
Physical anthropologists seek to understand
human evolution – what we were in the past, who we are today, and where we will go in the future, and why we are what we are as biological organisms
What is anthropology?
the study of humankind, viewed from the perspective of all people and all time
What is cultural anthropology?
the study of cultures and societies of human being and their very recent past.
Traditional cultural anthropologists study _____ cultures
Cultural anthropologists, who study living populations, often __________________ in order to __________________.
spend time with cultural groups in order to gain more intimate perspectives on those cultures
What is archaeology?
the study of past societies and their cultures, especially the material remains of the past, such as tools, food remains, and places where people lived
What is linguistic anthropology?
the study of language especially how language is structured, evolution of language, and the social and cultural contexts of language
What is physical anthropology?
the study of human evolution and variation, both past and current
Physical anthropology is also known as
biological anthropology
What is culture?
learned behavior that is transmitted from person to person
Cultural anthropologists typically study what kind of societies?
present day societies in non-Western settings
What is the unifying theme of study in cultural anthro?
Archaeologists study past human societies, focusing mostly on
material remains
What are some examples of material remains?
animal and plant remains and places where people lived
We call material objects from the past cultures
What do we mean when we say that archaeologists study the processes behind human behaviors?
they are looking at why people lived where they did, why some societies were simple and others complex, and why people shifted from hunting and gathering to agriculture beginning more than 10k yrs ago.
Who are the cultural anthropologists of the past?
What do we call a set of written or spoken symbols that refer to things (people, places, concepts, etc.) other than themselves?
Who studies the construction and use of language by human societies?
linguistic anthropologists
What makes possible the transfer of knowledge from one person to the next and from generation to the next?
What is sociolinguistics?
the science of investigating language’s social contexts
Physical (or biological) anthro’s study
all aspects of present and past human biology, the evolution of and variation among human beings and their living and past relatives
One central area of interest that many anthro’s share is the
interrelationship between what humans have inherited genetically and culture
This central area of interest, the interrelationship between what humans have inherited genetically and culture is known as what kind of approach
When we talk about what physical anthropology is, we say it is the study of human biological evolution and human biocultural variation. But there are two key concepts that underlie this definition. What are they?
1) every person is a product of their evolutionary history, or all the biological changes that have brought humanity to its present form
2) each of us is the product of our own individual life history, not only your genes but your environment, everything that has effected you
What are hominids?
a group of extinct and living bipedal primates in the family of Hominidae. Includes all humanlike beings that postdate the split between the evolutionary lineage that led to modern humans and the lineage that led to living chimpanzees
The remains of human like beings (hominids) indicate that the earliest human ancestors, in Africa, date to sometime around
6 to 8 million years ago
What has changed in that time for hominids?
physical appearance, our intelligence, and everything else that makes us distinctive biological organisms evolved in our predecessors, whose genes led to the species we are today
What do physical anthro’s do?
study the evolution and variation of human beings and travel all over the world to investigate populations. Some study living people, others study extinct and living species of our nearest biological relatives, primates
What are primates?
a group of mammals in the order Primates that have complex behavior, varied forms of locomotion, and a unique suite of traits, including large brains, forward facing eyes, fingernails, and reduced snouts
Physical anthro’s study all aspects of human biology, specifically looking at
the evolution and variation of human beings and their past relatives
This focus on biology means that physical anthro’s practice what kind of science?
The focus on biology within the context of culture and behavior means they also practice what other kind of science?
social science
Why do we say that physical anthro’s are interdisciplinarians?
the very nature of the discipline and their constant borrowing from other disciplines means that physcial anthro’s practice an interdisciplinarian science
Six key attributes developed to make humans different from other animals. What are they?
1) bipedalism, 2) nonhoning chewing, 3) complex material culture and tool use, 4) hunting, 5) speech, and 6) dependence on domesticated foods
Which of these represents the most profound physical difference between humans and other animals?
The first development, the manner in which we get around, bipedalism
What is bipedalism?
walking on two feet
What was the next development and why is it important?
the loss of a large, honing canine tooth, used to shred food, to the simple nonhoning canine in which we simply process food.
Why do physical anthro’s believe we lost the large honing canine?
we acquired the ability to make and use tools for processing food
Today, our species completely depends on _____ for its day to day living and survival
culture, specifically material culture
We stated that culture is learned behavior transmitted from person to person, but its also
a complex human characteristic that facilitates our survival by enabling us to adapt to different settings.
What is material culture?
its a part of culture that is expressed as objects that humans use to manipulate environments
What are some examples of material culture?
tools, hammers and nails, that enable us to make things we use to survive and thrive
Are we the only animal to use material culture?
no, there are some chimp societies in Africa, for example, making simple tools from twigs
The three other key attributes of humaness – hunting, speech, and dependence on domesticated foods – appeared when
much later in human evolution
When do we hypothesize hunting to have appeared?
hunting in the way men organize and pursue animals for food appeared about a million or more yrs ago
The difference between human hunting and other primates hunting?
Some nonhuman primates organize to pursue prey but don’t use tools or travel long distances
Do any other animal speak?
How do anthro’s study speech since there were no recording devices before about a century ago?
they rely on indirect evidence within the skeleton. For example, the hyoid bone, in the neck, is part of the vocal structure that helps produce words and its appearance helps anthro’s conjecture about the origins of speech.
Humans unique behavior and survival mechanisms, and the anatomical features related to them, arose through a complex interaction of
biology and culture
Anthropology is the study of humankind and in two major ways it differs from other sciences that study humankind
1) views humans as both biological and cultural beings, and 2) emphasizes a holistic, comparative approach, encompassing all people at all times and all places
What are the four branches of anthro?
1) cultural, 2) archaeology, 3) linguistic, and 4) physical
What kind of anthro is the study of human biology, specifically of the evolution and variation of humans (and their relatives, past and present)?
physical (or biological)
What makes humans different from other animals?
we are the product of millions of years of evolutionary history and their own personal life histories

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