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UNM / Engineering / ANTH 160 / What is the meaning of the individual level?

What is the meaning of the individual level?

What is the meaning of the individual level?


School: University of New Mexico
Department: Engineering
Course: Human Life Course
Professor: Tanya meuller
Term: Fall 2016
Tags: Anthropology, 160, week, 5, notes, study, guide, exam, one, 1, Anthro, five, Lecture, four, and 4
Cost: 50
Name: Anthropology Week 5 Notes / Exam 1 Study Guide
Description: These notes cover the remaining portion of lecture 4 as well as the entire study guide for exam 1. Exam 1 will be open this weekend and left open until class on Tuesday, 9/27. The question and answer layout of the study guide hits key points that will ensure you answer the whole question, however I encourage further elaboration when discussing the questions independently. Good luck!!
Uploaded: 09/22/2016
10 Pages 30 Views 3 Unlocks

Anthropology 160.001 The Human Life Course

What is the meaning of the individual level?

Week 5 

Week 5 Readings: No readings(Tuesday, Thursday September 20, 22): Life History Theory and the Evolution of the Human Life Course –  Hominid CharacteristicsEXAM 1 online, due 9/24 midnight

Continuation of Lecture 4…  



Individual level: precisely looking at effects of natural selection  through environmental and cultural factors. Natural selection favors  both anatomical and behavioral traits.

Group selection: certain traits operate for the good of others  (altruism) at the group level, even if disfavored for the individual.  

Group Selection: mathematically improbable

∙ 1965: John Maynard Smith showed that in order for group  selection to work, groups must go extinct at a faster rate than  migration outward

What is the meaning of the group selection?

o But in the real world migration and dispersal are extremely common

o When food runs out, the species migrates

Rejection of Group Selection:

1. There are no natural phenomena that require a group selection  explanation

a. More parsimony at individual level We also discuss several other topics like What is the scientific study of interactions between organics and their environment?

2. There is a natural regulation of animal numbers that operates to  prevent the kind of massive extinctions Wynne-Edwards  imagined

3. Actual data on breeding success suggest that animals are  reproducing as rapidly as circumstances permit and without  concern over the possibility the species will survive some future  resource limitation

a. Those with access to more resources tend to reproduce  more

4. Group selection is a weak force and depends on very low  migration rates

Who is john maynard smith?

a. No large scale genetic differences between populations The problem of altruism: If you want to learn more check out What is strategic business manager?

Appears that individuals are making great sacrifices for the  benefit of others

(See some examples from last week)

Alarm Calls

Alliance aid



-How can these concepts be seen as altruistic? How can they be  seen as individually beneficial?

Four types of social acts: selfish, altruistic, cooperative, and spiteful. On the horizontal axis: implications of a behavior to the donor (the  one acting out the behavior)

On the vertical axis: impact that behavior has on the recipient Examples in nature:


-Two forms of larvae hatch from eggs If you want to learn more check out How we would like the world to be?
We also discuss several other topics like How does environment affect natural selection?

-Soldier aphids protect their sisters, but never reproduce -Soldiers have evolved independently at least three times QUESTION: How could the genes for soldiers have increased in  frequency if they do not reproduce?

ANSWER: soldiers are produced during an asexual stage  genetically  identical to their mothers. If, by protecting the gall, they increase their We also discuss several other topics like What is meant by reaction formation?

mother’s reproduction more than by reproducing themselves, their  fitness is actually higher.

Brood parasites 

-Lay eggs in the nests of other species

QUESTION: why do the receiving species allow it?

Cooperative breeders 

-Yearlings and older remain with parents for long periods of time  and help raise their siblings

QUESTION: Why do they not leave and reproduce on their own? ANSWER: there is high competition for nesting areas; therefore most  tend to remain longer in order to avoid competition.

Food sharing 

-One of the most basic forms of social exchange

-Among the Ache, all food is shared completely, yet some  hunters produce more than 5 times as much as others -Ache children are taught to share from very young age

QUESTION: why is food sharing so important in human societies? ANSWER: food sharing is most common among kin or between those  who posses a benefit for the sharer.

Adoption and Alloparental Care 

-Adoption is also frequently practiced in humans

-Among the Efe, babies are passed from person to person and  cared for by many If you want to learn more check out Deuterostomes exhibit what characteristics?

QUESTION: why is adoption/caring for the kin of others commonly  accepted and practiced?

ANSWER: more often than not there is a .25 level of relatedness among human societal adoption.

Cooperative childcare in Efe occur at .125 relatedness

Alarm Calls 

-Individual calling draws attention to the individual

-Predator hard-wired specific alarm calls in vervet monkeys QUESTION: is this true altruism?

ANSWER: ground squirrels call in proportion to the amount of kin  present


Inclusive Fitness and Kin Selection

Indirect fitness: the proportion of your genetic material shared  in other individuals from common ancestor (aunt, sister, cousin,  etc.)

*Fitness of a gene depends not only on its effect on the reproduction of the organism in which it is housed but also on its effects on the  reproduction of other organisms in which the gene is housed. Inclusive fitness: the combination of direct and indirect fitness

Hamilton’s Rule: Benefits to the recipient (B) devalued by the  coefficient of relatedness (r) must be greater than the costs to the  donor (C) for altruism to be favored

Br > C

*Answers in green written after this segment

Importance of Kin

∙ Social life in pre-state societies are governed by kinship rules,  and even much of social life in state societies is dictated by  kinship

∙ Many anthropologists think this has nothing to do with kin selected altruism; kinship is defined differently in different  societies and the concept of fictive kin is universal

∙ Humans preferentially associate with kin for the same reasons  that other organisms do, but the importance of reciprocity in  human societies often leads to the extension of social kinship to  individuals with whom we share reciprocal aid


Study Guide for Exam 1

*This guide was given as a conceptual map for what to look for on the  test and know how to answer in short answer questions. *The exam is online and will be open from today (9/20) until next week  (9/27)

1. What is the Naturalistic Fallacy? Why must science avoid it? The confusion of what is with what ought to be. Humans are invested  in the answers because we are studying ourselves.  

2. Name some interesting adaptations of the Herring Gull. Uniquely adapted to it’s environment –trying to prevent chick lose  through cannibalism, predation, inadequate growth rates. Nests are  evenly spread apart, 3 eggs hatch synchronously to avoid competitive  differences; eggs blend with the nest. Both parents brood them *highly  vascularized patch on belly for heat transfer. Male feeds female while  she lays eggs. Chicks are recognizable for feeding. Red spot on  parents’ beak, when poked by children food is regurgitated.  POINT OF THIS EXAMPLE: adaptation via environmental forces and  selection pressures. Consistent selection pressures breed  organisms well suited to their environments.  

How do human universals mirror this?

3. Name three scientific methods, explain each.

Comparative –across species, cultures, individuals, etc.  -Good for generalizability, bad for determining causal  relationships


-Good control for consistency and causality.  

-Ethic standards huge here!! This method can lead to immoral,  impractical, or artificial data

Natural Observation

-Undirected change is observed and measured by scientists Example: the ache started gardening/ enacted agricultural lifestyle  after contact with outside culture  

4. What are the advantages/disadvantages of each method when  studying humans?  

The comparative method holds generalizability however causation  cannot be inferred.

The experimental method allows for control of variables however when using humans, many ethical concerns arise.

Natural observation is biased in the way that studying our own selves  leads to preferred/intuitive conclusions that may not be correct.

5. What does effective science require? What are hypotheses,  variables (dependent and independent), theory, etc.? What is  the scientific method?

Clearly framed research question:  

Descriptive: describes natural observations / the way things are Explanatory: says why something happens

Testable hypotheses:

Null hypotheses (no change) versus alternative hypotheses  (change)

Operationalize variables:

Assign definitions to predictor and controlled variables Measurement method:

3 as stated above

Decide how data will be collected

Identify sample population:

Representative of the greater population

Analyze results:

Statistical evidence as scientific research

Use theory to interpret data and come to conclusions

THEORY: a set of principles regarding causal connections  between variables that unites previously unconnected  observations in a common framework and makes new  predictions about previously unstudied relationships in a  fashion that can withstand the scrutiny of empirical  


6. What is a species?

-A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of  exchanging genes or interbreeding.

7. Name three fundamental components of Darwin’s Theory of  Evolution by Natural Selection. How do those three components  fit together to frame his theory?

1. There must be variation in a trait

2. That trait must be heritable  

3. Beneficial to survival and reproduction

8. What kinds of traits can natural selection act upon? -Natural selection favors a suit of traits; environmental context helps  determine which of those are expressed in the phenotype.

9. Explain Thomas Malthus' idea about population growth. What  impact did it have on Darwin's theory of evolution by natural  selection?

-Finite resources but infinite population growth. Malthus saw population growth as inevitable, which is contradictory to Darwin’s idea of  selection.

10. What evidence did Darwin use to support his theory? How  do things like anatomy, embryology and vestigial organs support  the theory of evolution by natural selection?

- Artificial selection, geographical distribution, fossil record,  comparative anatomy, comparative embryology, vestigial organs - Idea that certain things become less critical in the surrounding  environment and eventually adapt out of the species like  vestigial organs.

11. What are the two types of evolution? hint: one essentially  improves on existing species and the other results in "new"  species. Give an example of each.

1. Phyletic  Phenotype changes

a. Dog breeds. Would someone who has never seen a dog  think a Great Dane and Chihuahua belong to the same  species?

2. Speciation  divergence of a species

a. The Galapagos finches as seen in previous lecture

12. Explain "fitness" in the evolutionary context. Take a hard  look in the mirror, really, how fit ARE you? How does this relate  to “survival of the fittest?”

-How many offspring continue to reproduce generation after generation

13. How is evolution a creative process? Especially considering the random nature of genetic mutations?

-Does not generally innovate new traits. Evolution alters existing traits  to come up with new expressions of them.

14. What is a phenotype?

-Expression of genes

-The set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from  the interaction of its genotype with the environment.

*Natural selection acts on these

15. What is a genotype?

-Genetic make up of individuals

-Actual genetic code

*Used to measure the progress of evolution

16. How does natural selection act on each? (Partially  answered above)

-Natural selection is physically observable through phenotype; the  genotype helps track the progress of evolution and which traits are  more likely to be selected.

17. Stabilizing, directional, and disruptive selection –define  each and give an example.

Stabilizing: selection that favors the mean  traits stay the same Disfavors the outliers  spread of deviation decreases

Directional: favors one of the extremes, disfavors the other. The mean  is altered.

Example in humans: brain size in Homo sapiens

Disruptive: favors both extremes, disfavors the mean

Example: males versus females

18. What are reaction norms/phenotypic plasticity? Why do we expect them to be adaptive? What are some examples? -Reaction norms: range of phenotypes that can be expressed from one particular genotype

Examples: puberty, cultural expression/identity

∙ Based on central nervous system  

∙ Faster alteration of phenotypic expression than evolution -Phenotype plasticity: the ability to change reaction pattern to the  environment that has evolved rather than a single invariant phenotype

Example: red blood cell density based on oxygen concentration  of environment

19. Dung flies, crickets, sunfish – how do these examples show  us that behavior can evolve?

Dung flies: use physical positioning to better their chances of mating Crickets: inhibited natural tendency to make noise in order to survive  and reproduce

Sunfish: utilize physical make up to avoid predation and have higher  chance of mating

20. Culture and learning – how do these relate to reaction  norms? Do other species show learning biases? Humans? Culture shapes our reaction norms through formal and informal control. Cultural context and reaction norms are learned as well as widely  variant in the world.  

21. Levels of causation – proximate versus ultimate Proximate –what makes this behavior happen at any given moment?  Hormonal cascade? Mechanism, physiological, neurotransmitters, male

rage. HOW?

Example: smoking has proximate causation by opening  dopamine pathways, triggering immediate reward sensors Ultimate –in what ways does this behavior influence the survival and  success of the organism? WHY? Fitness outcomes. Function or adaptive value, male rage

Example: tobacco lowers parasite load. Social smoking may lead  to reproductive benefits due to social “attractiveness” of  smoking

22. “Group” versus “Individual” selection is a REALLY important  concept for this part of the class. Explain the implications of each in detail. Why was group selection originally proposed? **SHORT ANSWER QUESTION

Group: made to explain altruism

*Group selection relies on high extinction rates, low migration rates  these prove to be mathematically impossible in the real world. No  phenomena require group level explanation. Inclusive fitness and kin  selection disprove group selection as well.

Example: infanticide  

Group –helps the group to keep the population from overexploiting the resources

Individual -having babies too close together, some deformity of  child


23. What is altruism? Pure altruism? How does it relate to group  selection?

Definition: performing a behavior at the cost to oneself in order to refer a benefit to someone else

24. When Darwin said: “if a species was ever found to do  something entirely for the good of another individual, his whole  theory would fail” what did he mean? Why such drastic words?

He claimed his whole theory would fail if altruism were true because of  the fact that natural selection favors certain traits that are beneficial to individual survival and reproduction. Altruism would ignore both  aspects.  

25. There are certain phenomena in the natural world that have  been used to argue for group selection. Among them alarm calls,  and food sharing. Use detailed descriptions of each of these  phenomena to reject group selection theory.

Alarm calls: protect kin in the near by homes

Food sharing: strengthens kin

26. Explain kin selection, Hamilton’s rule, and how it is related to  theories of group selection, individual selection and altruism.  Examples in nature of kin selection? Examples in humans?

Hamilton’s Rule: Benefits to the recipient (B) devalued by the  coefficient of relatedness (r) must be greater than the costs to the  donor (C) for altruism to be favored. Br > C

27. Human universals – what are some of them and what do they  show us about human evolution/ humanity?

-We expect to see human universals because we have common  ancestors and they reflect solutions to shared adaptive problems /  consistent adaptive pressures.

Example: mother ease as a language / mental maps

-We see such differences in actual behaviors because of reaction  norms in different cultures

28. What do children with William’s syndrome show us? -Some areas/functions of the brain, such as language, can be left  perfectly in tact while other areas are underdeveloped or damaged.

29. What do children with autism show us?

-Some areas of the brain can be maladapted without necessarily being  damaged

30. What do populations like the Hutterites show us? -We have a brain that without law will keep track of group sizes about  150-200 individuals. After that number is exceeded, they break apart.

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