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ANTH 1001 - Week 1

by: Aafreen Afzal

ANTH 1001 - Week 1 Anth 1001

Aafreen Afzal
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These are the notes from the first week of Biological Anthropology class so if you're joining next week or missed some slides, hopefully they will be useful.
Biological Anthropology
Shannon C. McFarlin
Class Notes
biological anthropology, Anthropology




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Aafreen Afzal on Thursday January 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anth 1001 at George Washington University taught by Shannon C. McFarlin in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 127 views. For similar materials see Biological Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 01/14/16
Biological Anthropology Class 1 I. What is Anthropology? ➔ Anthropology is the study of humankind in a cross-cultural context. ➔ Biological, sociocultural, linguistic, archaeology are all kinds of anthropology. ➔ Sociocultural anthropology: The study of human societies in a cross- cultural perspective. ➔ Archaeology: Study of the material remains (i.e. artifacts) of past human cultures. ➔ Linguistic anthropology: The study of one aspect of human culture - language - and its origins, structure and use. ➔ Biological anthropology: The scientific study of human beings as biological creatures. What we share with other animals, what we share with primates, and what makes us unique. II. Biological Anthropology ➔ The scientific study of human beings as biological creatures. ➔ What we share with other animals ➔ What we share with primates ➔ What makes us unique. Broad in scope: encompasses many subfields ➔ Primatology ➔ Paleoanthropology: who were our early ancestors ➔ Skeletal biology and paleopathology ➔ Human biology ➔ Forensic anthropology ➔ Anthrogenetics ➔ Evolutionary neuroscience Origins of Evolutionary Thought: Before Darwin What is science? What is evolution? What is the history of ideas that led to the development of evolutionary thought? Science: An approach to gaining information about natural phenomena through observation and experimentation. Empirical. Based on knowledge gained through observation. Scientific method: Hypothesis ------> Observation (Data and Experiment) ------> Hypothesis rejected, supported or refined. 1) Observation and description of natural phenomena 2) Formulation of a hypothesis to explain phenomena with clearly stated predictions that must be falsifiable. 3) Hypothesis testing: against empirical evidence (i.e. data) 4) If the hypothesis hasn’t been falsified after repeated empirical testing, then it’s a theory 5) Theory: Robustly supported set of generalizations that allow us to predict what happens. Falsifiability: The key defining trait of the scientific process. Self-correcting. Vernacular theory vs. Scientific theory ● Established body of knowledge ● Based on observation of factual events and collection of factual data ● Attempts to explain Evolution: Change over time Ancient Greek ideas on biological evolution. ➔ Anaximander (6th Century B.C.) ● Sought natural causes for biological and other earthly phenomena ● Notion of change- humans and other animals descended from fish. ➔ Plato ( 427 - 347 B.C.) ● THE REPUBLIC ● Concept of the “Eidos” an abstract “form” that is imperfectly imitated in the real world. ● Species have a defining “essence” that is fixed and unchangeable. ➔ Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) ● Appreciated organic diversity ● Organized and classified organisms into a “Scala naturale” or Great Chain of Being with humans at the top European Middle Ages: Conceptualization of a Static World ● Most of the population was illiterate ● Books stored in monasteries ● Scientific knowledge overpowered by religious institutions FIXITY OF SPECIES GREAT CHAIN OF BEING ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN RECENT ORIGIN OF THE EARTH: October 23rd, 4004 B.C. ➔ Lih-Shih Chen (1518-1593) ● Chinese naturalism ● Organisms are influenced by their environments ● Binominal system of naming organisms ● Hierarchical classification scheme ➔ Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) ● Established a systematic empirical approach to looking at natural phenomena ● Confirmed Copernicus’ idea that the earth was not the center of the celestial system ● The notion of change became more acceptable ➔ John Ray (!672-1705) ● Defined species as a group of organisms that can reproduce with each other ● Recognized that species share similarities with other species - used the genus to acknowledge this fact ➔ Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) ● Systema naturae (1735) ● Binominal system ● A hierarchical system of classification with organisms grouped on the basis of similarities Kingdom - Animalia Animals Class - Mammalia Warm blooded, mammary glands Order - Primates Opposable thumbs, binocular glands Genus - Homo Bipedal, Large brain Species - Sapiens Further enlargement of brain Binomen: Genus and species for humans: Homo sapiens ➔ Compte de Buffon (1707-1788) ● Histoire Naturelle (1749) ● Animals that migrate to new climates often change in response to new environments ● One of the first to suggest that the external environment is an important agent of biological change ● Variation observed in organisms may reflect environmental influences ➔ Jean Lamarck (1744-1829) ● Philosophie Zoologique (1809) ● First to propose a mechanism of evolutionary change to explain biological diversity ● Recognized that organisms interact in a dynamic way with their environment which is important for evolutionary change. ● Theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics: use or disuse. Inheritance. ● E.g: Giraffe’s neck grew longer over time because it had to reach the tree and therefore stretched. ● However, Lamarck proposed incorrectly that these changes happen in a lifetime. They take place over many, many lifetimes. ➔ Georges Cuvier (1769-1875) ● Described changes in the assemblages of biological organisms that were tied to changes in rock layers of the Paris Basin ● Catastrophism: Environmental changes cause biological extinctions which account for changes in fossil organisms. ➔ Charles Lyell (1797-1875) ● Principles of Geology (1830-1933) ● Uniformitarianism: Deep time. ● Lyell’s uniformitarianism provided the time frame needed for acceptance of organic change. PRE-DARWIN DEVELOPMENTS ● Appreciation of diversity in the natural world, methods of classifying diversity ● Concept of species ● Notion of organic change ● Environment as an important agent of organic change ● Ancient origin of natural world


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