Anthropology Essay Assignment

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Assignment 1
Heather Hartwig
American Military University
October 21, 2012

Assignment 1

1) Discuss what evolution is in terms of physical anthropology.
Evolution refers to "change over time". In terms of physical anthropology, evolution is changes over time in living organisms. This means that living things have passed their traits from one generation to the next. There are very little changes that occur with each generation, but over time these changes accumulate in each living organism. It is believed that all life on Earth has common ancestry that lived more than 3.5 billions of years ago (Park, 2008).

2) Define evolution.
Evolution is defined as the idea or scientific theory that was proposed by Charles Darwin. Darwin believed that all species changed and evolved by natural selection from the same common ancestors. Evolution simply means that a species undergoes genetic change over time. Over many generations a species can evolve into something different. These changes take place because of changes in DNA, which originated as mutations. Not all species evolve at the same rate. The theory of evolution does not prove that species will constantly evolve or how fast the species will change when it does (Park, 2008).

3) Discuss what a physical anthropologist may examine/investigate in order to study evolution.
Paleoanthropology is a branch of paleontology that falls under physical anthropology. Paleoanthropologists study extinct primates and fossils. They use these examinations to further investigate the evolution of humans. They examine ancient humans, like the anthropoids. Anthropoids are considered humans closest relative and have been linked to human evolution (Coyne, 2009). 4) Discuss ‘how’ a physical anthropologist would study your answer for Q3 and why it is helpful for studying evolution.Paleoanthropologists are able to study evolution by examining fossils and ancient humans. They do this by investigating the fossil record and continue to make additions all the time. The first identifiable multicellular organism formed about 585 million years ago. The earliest fossil of the primate can go back before the extinction of the dinosaur over 65 million years ago. Bones and teeth were discovered in Montana and Wyoming (Park, 2008). Even though there was primate like evidence before the dinosaur extinction, (Shipman, 2012).

5) Find at least one outside source related to your answer for Q3 and Q4 (e.g. the genome project for DNA- do not use this example in your paper since it is provided for you).
My outside source for questions 3 and 4 is a journal by Pat Shipman titled Fossils. This journal was published in The New Scientist Vol. 215, Issue 2876, p. 8-16.

6) Briefly describe the source and how is it helpful for examining/investigating evolution.
It is a journal that discusses fossils of early life and evolution. It gives facts and information pertaining to the timelines, type and the formation of fossils.

7) Choose a second subfield of anthropology – cultural, linguistic, or archaeology.
I chose Archaeology as my second subfield of anthropology.

8) Discuss how an anthropologist in this subfield would study evolution.
Park defines archaeology as a subfield of anthropology that studies the past culture of humans and reconstructs the past cultural systems that existed. He goes on to say that they study cultures and people that are no longer living (Park, 2008). Archaeology reconstructs past cultural systems. Archaeology began as a method of identifying places and objects that were already known from historical records. It has become a very resourceful means of discovering new information not only about the historical period but also about years beyond the reach of written investigational facts. The purpose of archaeology is not only to recover ancient artifacts but to identify the relationship that these objects may have had with...
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