ESSENTIALS OF PHYSICAL
ANTHROPOLOGY
9th Edition
CHAPTER 1
Introduction to
Physical Anthropology
Chapter Outline
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Introduction
The Human Connection
Biocultural Evolution
Chapter Outline, cont.
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What Is Anthropology?
Cultural Anthropology
Archaeology
Linguistic Anthropology
Physical Anthropology
Physical Anthropology and the Scientific Method
The Anthropological Perspective
Focus Questions
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

What do physical anthropologists do?
How does the concept of Biocultural Evolution
provide anthropology a unique perspective?
Why is physical anthropology a scientific discipline,
and what is its importance to the general public?
Footprints and What it Means to Be
Human
July 20, 1969
Hominins


Hominins are members of
the evolutionary lineage
that includes ourselves,
modern Homo sapiens.
Habitually walking
bipedally (on two feet) is a
critical feature of the
hominins.
Primates

Hominins (including
humans) are members
of the Order
Primates, the group
of mammals that
includes apes,
monkeys, tarsiers,
lemurs and lorises.
Terms to Remember All Semester


Evolution
 A change in the genetic structure of a population
from one generation to the next.
Adaptation
 An anatomical, physiological, or behavioral
response of organisms or populations to the
environment.
 Adaptations result from evolutionary change.
Terms to Remember All Semester:
Evolution

Microevolution
 Small

genetic changes that occur within a species.
Macroevolution
 Changes
that occur only after many generations, such
as the appearance of a new species (speciation).
The Human Connection:
Biology and Behavior
Continuum


A set of relationships in which all components fall
along a single integrated spectrum.
All life reflects a single biological continuum.
Behavior
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Anything organisms do that involves action in
response to internal or external stimuli.
The response of an individual, group, or species to
its environment.
Responses may or may not be deliberate,
and aren’t necessarily the result of conscious
decision making.
Culture
Strategies humans use to adapt to their
environment:
 technologies
 religion
 subsistence
 marriage
patterns
 housing types
 clothing
and family
 values
 gender
roles
Culture
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
Culture is learned, and the process of learning one’s
culture begins at birth.
The human predisposition to assimilate culture and
function within it is profoundly influenced by
biological factors.
Over time, culture and biology interacted in such a
way that humans are said to be the result of
biocultural evolution.
Biocultural Evolution

Biology makes culture
possible and that
developing culture
further influences the
direction of biological
evolution
Worldview

General cultural orientation or perspective of the
external environment shared by members of a
society and in particular ways that distinguish that
culture from all others.
What Is Anthropology?


A powerful means of explaining variation in human
adaptations
Comprises four subfields:
 Cultural
Anthropology
 Archaeology
 Linguistic anthropology
 Physical (or Biological) Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology


Study of the global patterns of belief and behavior
found in modern and historical cultures.
Cultural anthropology began with an interest in
traditional societies, led early anthropologists to
study and record lifeways that are now all but
extinct.
Ethnographies
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
Detailed descriptive studies of human societies.
Form the basis for comparative studies of numerous
cultures
Ethnographic techniques are applied to the study of
diverse subcultures and their interactions with one
another in contemporary areas (urban
anthropology)
Archaeology

Study of earlier cultures and lifeways through
scientific recovery, analysis, and interpretation of
material remains of past societies (artifacts).
Linguistic Anthropology


Study of human speech and language.
The use of language is a unique human characteristic.
 Linguists trace historical ties between languages and
groups of languages by examining similarities between
contemporary languages
 Insights into the process of language acquisition in
infants have implications for the development of
language skills in human evolution
What is Anthropology?


From your knowledge of other social sciences, how
does anthropology differ?
How is it similar?
Physical Anthropology


Study of human biology within the framework of
evolution.
Subfields:
 Paleoanthropology
- the study of human evolution, as
evidenced in the fossil record
Paleoanthropology

The interdisciplinary
approach to the study
of earlier hominins,
their chronology,
physical structure,
archaeological
remains, habitats, etc.
Studies of Human Variation


Population studies examine
how groups respond
physiologically to
environmentally induced
stress.
This researcher uses a
treadmill test to assess a
subject’s heart rate, blood
pressure, and oxygen
consumption.
Anthropometry

Measurement of human
body
 Identifying human
variation due to possible
adaptive significance
 Identify genetic and
other evolutionary
factors that produced
variation
Body Measurements
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
Dr. Kathleen Galvin
measures upper arm
circumference in a young
Maasai boy in Tanzania.
Data derived from various
body measurements,
including height and weight,
were used in a health and
nutrition study of groups of
Maasai cattle herders.
Genetics


The study of gene structure and action and the
patterns of inheritance of traits from parent to
offspring.
Genetic mechanisms are the foundation for
evolutionary change.
Molecular Anthropology

Cloning and sequencing
methods are frequently
used to identify genes in
humans and non human
primates.
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)


Double-stranded molecule
that contains the genetic
code, a set of instructions
for producing bodily
structures and functions.
DNA is a main component
of chromosomes
Osteology


The study of the human skeleton
Bioarchaeology – the study of skeletal remains
from archaeological sites
Paleopathology


The study of disease and trauma in
archaeologically-derived skeletons
Investigates the prevalence of trauma, certain
infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and
conditions that may leave evidence in bone
Paleopathology
Pathological conditions
in human skeletal remains from the
Nubian site of Kulubnarti in
Sudan.These remains are
approximately 1,000 years old.
A partially healed fracture of a
child’s left femur (thigh bone). The
estimated age at death is 6
years, and the cause of death was
probably an infection
resulting from this injury.
Paleopathology

Very severe congenital
scoliosis in an adult male
from Nubia. The curves are
due to developmental
defects in individual
vertebrae. (This is not the
most common form of
scoliosis.)
Forensic Anthropology

Application of anthropological techniques to legal
issues
Forensic Anthropology
Vuzumusi Madasco of Zimbabwe (L) and
Patricia Benardi of Argentina, both
forensic anthropologists,
work at the site of an exhumation
of victims of a Salvadoran civil war
massacre October 24, 2001. 775 civilian
men, women and children are believed to
have been killed by the Salvadoran army
at the village of Los Toriles in Morazan
province, 170 northeast of San Salvador
in December, 1981. The site of the mass
grave was recently discovered and is
being excavated to try to shed more light
on the murders.
Primatology

The study of the living nonhuman primates
Primatology
Primatologist Jill Pruetz follows a chimpanzee in
Senegal, in West Africa.
What is Physical Anthropology?
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
What is the common thread through all of the
subfields of physical anthropology?
What are some practical uses of physical
anthropology?
Applied Anthropology

The practical application of anthropological and
archaeological theories and techniques.
Medical Anthropology

An applied subfield of cultural anthropology that
explores the relationship between various cultural
attributes and health and disease.
Science

A body of knowledge gained through observation
and experimentation; from the Latin scientia,
meaning “knowledge.”
Scientific Method
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Science is a process of explaining natural
phenomena by means of observation, developing
explanations, or hypotheses
Empirical approach to gaining information
Data (information) is collected that can be studied
and analyzed quantitatively
Scientific Method-Process
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State the research problem.
Develop a hypothesis.
Test the hypothesis through data collection and
analysis.
If the hypothesis is verified, it may support a theory
Empirical

Relying on experiment or observation; from the
Latin empiricus, meaning “experienced.”
Hypotheses
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A provisional explanation of a phenomenon.
Hypotheses require verification or falsification
through testing.
Quantitative
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Pertaining to measurements of quantity and
including such properties as size, number, and
capacity.
When data are quantified, they’re expressed
numerically and can be tested statistically.
Theory
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A broad statement of scientific relationships or
underlying principles that has been substantially
verified through the testing of hypotheses.
Tested explanations of facts
Scientific Testing
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The precise repetition of an experiment or
expansion of observed data to provide verification.
The procedure by which hypotheses and theories
are verified, modified, or discarded.
What is Science
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What are some other non-scientific ways of
understanding the world?
How is science similar to and different from these
other forms of scholarship?
Anthropological Perspective
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A broad perspective that helps us understand the
diversity of the human experience within the context
of biological and behavioral continuity with other
species.
By learning about cultures other than our own, we can
avoid an ethnocentric view of other cultures.
By recognizing that we have similarities with other
animals, we may recognize that they have a place in
nature just as we do.
Ethnocentric
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
Viewing other cultures from the inherently biased
perspective of one’s own culture.
Ethnocentrism often results in other cultures being
seen as inferior to one’s own.
Relativistic
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Pertaining to relativism; viewing entities as they
relate to something else.
Cultural relativism is the view that cultures have
merits within their own historical and environmental
contexts and should first be understood within those
contexts
Why the Anthropological
Perspective Matters

Anthropology offers a wider appreciation of the human
experience, in order to understand humans beings and
how our species came to be.
 How humans differ from and are similar to other
animals, including nonhuman primates
 Understand the limits and potentials of humankind
 Allows us to understand other people’s concerns and
view our own culture from a broader perspective
QUICK QUIZ
1.
Hominins are members of the evolutionary
lineage that includes ourselves, modern Homo
sapiens.
a)
b)
True
False
Answer: a

Hominins are members of the evolutionary lineage
that includes ourselves.
2. Culture is
a)
b)
c)
d)
inherited by a simple genetic transmission.
a biological trait of our species.
learned.
the strategy by which many mammals adapt to their
environment.
Answer: c

Culture is learned.
3. Anthropologists who conduct excavations in order
to recover artifacts are
a)
b)
c)
d)
archaeologists
ethnologists
linguists
medical anthropologists
Answer: a

Anthropologists who conduct excavations in order
to recover artifacts are archaeologists.
4. Physical anthropologists developed techniques for
measuring the human body. These type of
measurements are called:
a)
b)
c)
d)
calibration
dermatoglyphics
genetics
anthropometrics
Answer: d

Physical anthropologists developed techniques for
measuring the human body. These type of
measurements are called anthropometrics.
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Chapter 1 Introduction