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Lec. 1 Intro to Physical Anthropology

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Timothy Sefczek

on 1 June 2016

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Transcript of Lec. 1 Intro to Physical Anthropology

Anthropology 2200:
Introduction to Physical Anthropology

(or Biological Anthropology)
Six attributes to
being human

1) Bipedalism
2) Non-honing Chewing
3) Material Culture
4) Speech
5) Hunting (tools and strategy)
6) Domesticated Foods (plants and animals)
Non-honing chewing (left) means canines are not enlarged and all teeth are small and general. A honing complex (right) uses large canines to tear food.
Study of Patterns of Behavior through Material Records
Trash is extremely valuable
Can tell what is valued and what is not, what is common and what is rare, and how these ideas change
Contextual Analysis is important, knowing where something occurred and in what/who it is in relation to. Without context, an artifact loses all significance.
This means when Indiana Jones removes the idol without studying it, he is a tomb raider
Holistic Anthropology:
Humans are complicated. The four fields are used to get a complete understanding of what it means to be human.
Four Fields of Anthropology
Multiple aspects including:
Recording dying languages
Grouping languages into language families
Understanding how people use words and how those words change in different situations
Track population movement through language
Understand how languages change through time & with human contact
If you are interested, take a look through this book to understand how we use certain language in given situations
The study of human culture
Patterns of behavior
Political organization
Social organization
Rights of passage
Ceremonies for Puberty, Marriage, Child Birth
Ethnography: Study of a specific culture
Ethnology: Comparative study of cultures around the world
How are these behaviors different and how are they the same? These are the types of questions a cultural anthropologist might look at.
Understand the biological and biocultural aspects of being human
Human evolution
Human and non-human primate behaviors
Yes we are related to non-human primates!
Physical anthropology started as physical measurements of people to categorize populations
We now know people are all the same species
Biological anthropology is studying humans and their interactions with the environment
Skeletal Biology
Subfields of Physical Anthropology
Human Biology
Paleoanthropology/Human Evolution
Primate-human evolution
This involves a biological background
And a geological background
Fossil dating
Theory of Evolution
Origins of human species
Physical Anthropology is an interdisciplinary science, borrowing from other disciplines
Osteology (human skeleton)
Paleopathology (ancient disease)
Human Genetics
Population Genetics
Growth and Development
Nutritional Anthropology
Medical Anthropology
Scientific Method
Research Strategy
1)Make Observations
2) Create a quesiton
3) Hypothesis and predictions
4) Test
5) Analyze (repeat)
Predictions that hold up over a long period of time without being disproved
Theory that lasts even longer without being disproved
Ex. Law of Gravity; Laws of Physics
Scientific method must:
1) Be repeatable
2) Never try to prove, just disprove
These are some of the topics we will be discussing over the course of the semester (subfields of physical anthropology)
Science is constantly being evaluated and updated as new information is uncovered through the scientific method of formulating, testing, and evaluating theories and hypotheses.
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