Intro to Physical Anthropology Chap 1,2,3

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Chapter One-Introduction

Anthropology: the study of humans in all times, situations, and places. Physical Anthropology: the scientific study of humans as biological organisms, in an evolutionary context.

Branches of Physical Anthropology:

Human evolution: the study of how and why our human ancestors changed over millions of years. Genetics: the mechanics of inheritance and how evolutionary change works. Paleoanthropology: the study of the fossil record of ancestral humans and their primate relatives. Anthropometry: measurement of the human body, particularly the skeleton, e.g. craniometry. Medical Anthropology: the study of health, illness, and healing from a cultural and/or cross-cultural perspective. Forensic Anthropology: the study of human remains applied to a legal context. Primatology: the study of the primate order, looking for signs of shared biological heritage and trying to understand our closest living relative.

Anthropomorphism: the tendency to project onto non-humans human emotions, actions, and goals that cannot be demonstrated to be there. Anthropodenial: the act or attitude of denying any connection between animal and human behaviours, emotional states, etc.

Fact, Theory and Hypothesis

Fact: an observation that is true as far as we can determine truth to be ( e.g. Homo Habilis and the wide range in brain sizes). Theory: an explanation ( e.g. the brain size difference is either due to sexual dimorphism (one is male, one is female) or they're two different species of Homo). Hypothesis: sets up to prove or disprove theory (e.g. the large cranial capacity males and smaller capacity females would be found on the same site, showing that they're together as one species).

Objectivity and Subjectivity: Lumpers and Splitters

Traditional notion of science-'objective' (i.e. free from bias and prejudice). Humans cannot be totally objective, and therefore, scientist have emotional investments in what they have said in the past. All science is colored by subjectivity. Therefore one must declare one's biases upfront.

Lumpers accept:
A significant range of variation within a species or genus. More similarities among humans.
Considerable sexual dimorphism among humans.
Splitters accept:
Smaller differences, greater distinctions.
The time period of evolution has been great enough for a lot of specification to have occurred. Chapter 2- Tools of the Trade

Relative Dating: compare the artifact or site with another. Determining whether something is 'older than' or 'younger than' something else. Stratigraphy: the study of the order and relative position of the strata (layers of the earth). (Stratum-one layer).

Law of Superposition: upper strata forms after those that are lower.

Law of Original horizontality: typically forms in a horizontal position.

Law of Lateral Continuity: lateral continuity broken by intruding.

Cross-Cutting Relationship: any rock that cuts through a given stratum was formed after the stratum was.

2. Absolute Dating: more precise range of dates rather than one specific date. Writing (earliest method of absolute dating). Started in Mesopotamia, 5500 BP. Paleography: the study of old written material. Dendrochronology: Applies only to those trees from climates in which there is a distinct change between growing and non-growing seasons. Table 2.2 |

Radiocarbon Dating: Carbon-14: based on measuring of radioactive C14 left in organic materials. Organic: anything that was once alive (plants, animals, etc.) and anything that was made from something that once was alive (paper made from trees, etc.). The pace or rate of decay of C14 is called the half-life= 5,730 +/- 40 years. Current C14 time scale extends from about 300 years to between 40,000 – 60,000 years. Accelerator mass spectometry(AMS) allows for dates as old as 70,000 to 100,000 years and produces accurate dates from...
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