Presentation on theme: "Physical Anthropology 1 Milner-Rose"— Presentation transcript:
1 Physical Anthropology 1 Milner-Rose Chapter 1What is Physical Anthropology?Our OriginsBy Clark Spencer Larsen
2 What is Anthropology? Anthropology is the study of humankind Viewed from the perspective of all peoples and all timesOur central question: “What is humankind?”All our research is aimed at describing and defining ourselves as a species that has changed over time and that varies over geographic space.
3 Human History and Prehistory Over Time and Space Biologically Modern Humans Appear in Africa200 KyaSPACE1 MyaArchaic Hominids Present in Asia and Europe2 MyaFirst Hominids out of Africa3 MyaRobust and Gracile Hominids4 MyaSeveral Types of Hominids in Africa5 MyaBipedal Hominids spreading in AfricaTIME 6 Mya only in Africa
4 What is Anthropology? The Four subfields of anthropology are Cultural or social anthropologyArchaeologyLinguistic anthropologyPhysical or biological anthropology
8 What is Anthropology? Cultural anthropology Archaeology Studies living people, face-to-faceCulture is defined as transmitted, learned behavior shared by a groupArchaeologyStudies and reconstructs past human cultures and societiesFocuses on material remains and the processes behind them
9 What is Anthropology? Linguistic anthropology Studies the structure, use and change of language by human societiesLanguage is defined as a set of heard or seen symbols that refer to thingsPhysical or biological anthropologyStudies all aspects of present and past human biologyDeals with the evolution of and variation among human beings and their relatives
10 What is Anthropology?No anthropologist is an expert in all four branches of anthropology.Anthropologists study the diversity of humans culturally and physically.Within the field there is a commitment to the notion that humans are both cultural and biological beings.We are interested in what is universally true about humankind and what is unique about us compared to other animals.
11 What is Anthropology? The Biocultural approach Humans are a result of a combination of inherited (biological) traits and cultural (learned) traits.Anthropology uses a broad, historical and comparative (holistic) approach over time and space.Anthropology is interested in how and why humankind has changed.
12 What is Physical Anthropology? Anthropology generally asks, “Why do people look, speak, and behave differently in different places and times? Boas’ answer was that people are adapting to their environment with their particular historical backgrounds.Following Boas, physical anthropologists study human biological evolution and human biocultural adaptations.
15 What is Physical Anthropology? Two key concepts:Each person is a product of the evolutionary history of our speciesIncluding all biological changes that have brought humans to their present form.Each person is a product of an individual life history.We are a combination of our genetics and environment (including social and cultural factors), a unique individual with our own nature and nurture during our lifetime.
16 What Do Physical Anthropologists Do? Study all living people to describe our diverse and universal biological traits.Study other living primates to discover what behaviors & anatomy may be like that of our fossil ancestors.Study past remains to discover the bio- cultural changes that humankind has gone through.Always seeking, “What is humankind?”
18 What Do Physical Anthropologists Do? Apply anthropological knowledge and methods to societal issues or concernsForensic anthropologyStudy all biological aspects of the human species. Ex. Human genetics by mapping the DNA of living people and DNA extracted from fossil bones.
20 What Do Physical Anthropologists Do? We are a biological science as well as a cultural scienceBiology is studied within the context of culture and biologyWe are an Interdisciplinary scienceUtilizes theories and methods from a wide variety of other fields
23 What Is So Different about Humans from Other Animals What Is So Different about Humans from Other Animals? The comparative method shows that hominids have evolved throughSix Steps to Humanness: Humans differ from other animals in several important ways.Bipedalism (first evolved 6mya)Defined as walking on two feetNonhoning chewing (next to evolve)Loss of a large canine (as other apes have)
25 Figure 1.4a The Six Big Events of Human Evolution: 1. Bipedalism, 2. Nonhoning Chewing, 3. Dependence on Material Culture, 4. Speech/Language,5. Hunting/Cooking, & 6. Domestication of Plants/AnimalsOur Origins, 2th Edition
26 What Is So Different about Humans from Other Animals? The Six Steps to Humanness:Complex material culture and tool useHumans depend completely on culture forday-to-day living and species survival. (firstevidence of stone tool making at 2.6mya)Other great apes exhibit some forms ofcultural behavior.Hunting with tools and cooking (deduced at 2mya from increase in brain size)Group pursuit of animals for food using toolsUse of fire to alter the digestibility of food and providesafety at night from predatorsGroup consumption and sharing of food
28 What Is So Different about Humans from Other Animals? The Six Steps to Humanness:Speech/Language (estimate 1.5mya)The only animal that communicates by talkingusing symbols, either heard or seenDependence on domesticated foodsDevelopment of ability to raise domesticatedplants and animals, control their reproduction(evidence of domestication at 10kya)
30 How We Know What We Know: The Scientific Method Systematic observation of the worldObservations form the basis for the rest of the process.Identifying problems, developing questions, and gathering evidence (data)Data are used to test hypotheses.Hypotheses explain, predict, and can be refuted and replaced by better hypotheses.
32 How We Know What We Know: The Scientific Method This process is called the scientific method.A way of knowing the world around us through observation an experimentResults in an ever-expanding knowledge base, with correctionsEmpirical, or based on observation and subject to proving or disproving by other scientists
33 How We Know What We Know: The Scientific Method Scientific Theory is developed through the process of the scientific method.Scientific Theories are explanations of the way things work.Theories can be modified by new evidence.In Science, Theories are not “theoretical”, they are functional (or they are discarded).
35 How We Know What We Know: All Sciences use The Scientific Method If a theory proves absolutely true, it becomes scientific law. Ex: gravity, thermodynamics, and motion“Hard” sciences like math, physics and chemistry need to have theories that are lawful and work 100% of the time.“Soft” sciences like biology and behavioral science produce theories that work from 60%-100% of the time. This because of individual variability in those realms.