American Military University
October 21, 2012
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
References: Palmer, Douglas. 2010. Origins human evolution revealed. Octopus Books, USA. New York, NY. Park, Michael A. 2008. Introducing anthropology an integrated approach. Fourth edition. McGraw-Hill. New York, NY. Shipman, Pat. 2012. Fossils. The new scientist. Vol. 215, Issue 2876, p. 8-16.