Anthropology /ænθrɵˈpɒlədʒi/ is the "science of humanity." It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos (ἄνθρωπος), "man", understood to mean humankind or humanity, and -logia (-λογία), "discourse" or "study." The essence of anthropology has been, since its tradition, cross-cultural comparison, and cultural relativism has become the canon of anthropological inquiry. What is Anthropology?
Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, anthropology draws and builds upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences. A central concern of anthropologists is the application of knowledge to the solution of human problems. Historically, anthropologists in the United States have been trained in one of four areas: sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Anthro b pologists often integrate the perspectives of several of these areas into their research, teaching, and professional lives. The four fields of anthropology are cultural, biological (also called physical), linguistic, and archaeology. Biological (or physical) anthropologists carry out systematic studies of the non-cultural aspects of humans and near-humans. Non-cultural refers to all of those biological characteristics that are genetically inherited in contrast to learned. Near-human is a category that includes monkeys, apes, and the other primates as well as our fossil ancestors. The primary interest of most biological anthropologists today is human evolution--they want to learn how our ancestors changed through time to become what we are today. Biological anthropologists also are interested in understanding the mechanisms of evolution and genetic inheritance as well as human variation and adaptations to...
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