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Bio Anth, Week 1 of Notes

by: Jaimee Kidd

Bio Anth, Week 1 of Notes Anth 1001

Jaimee Kidd
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About this Document

Origins of Thought: Before Darwin
Biological Anthropology
Shannon C. McFarlin
Class Notes




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jaimee Kidd on Monday January 18, 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 89 views. For similar materials see Biological Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at George Washington University.

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Date Created: 01/18/16
Origins of Thought: Before Darwin Science: An approach to gaining information about natural phenomena through observation and  experimentation ◦ Science is empirical —> based on knowledge gained through observation ▪ A self­correcting process. Falsifiability is a key defining trait of the scientific process. • Scientific Method: ◦ 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 (ie., date) ◦ 4. Eventually, if the hypothesis has not been falsified after repeated empirical  testing…theory (robustly supported set of generalizations that allow us to predict  what happens under particular conditions and why) • “Just a theory…" ◦ Vernacular theory vs. Scientific theory ▪ Established body of knowledge ▪ Based on observation of factual events and collection of factual data ▪ Attempts to explain how these phenomena occurred ▪ Must be based on testable hypotheses  ▪ Scientific theory: an explanatory framework that has been repeatedly  tested, is supported by an overwhelming amount of consistent evidence,  and has yet to be disproved Evolution • Ancient Greek Ideas on Biological Evolution ◦ Anaximander (6th Century BC) ▪ Sought natural causes for biological and other earthly phenomena ▪ Notion of change­ Humans and other animals descended from fish ◦ Plato (427­347 BC) ▪ The Republic ▪ Concept of the “edits”, an abstract ‘form’ that is imperfectly  imitated in the real world ▪ Species have a defining “essence” that is fixed and unchangeable ◦ Aristotle (384­322 BC) ▪ Appreciated organic diversity ▪ Organized and classified organisms into a “Scala natural” or Great Chain  of Being, with humans at the top  • The European Middle Ages: Conceptualization of a Static World ◦ Most of the population could not read or write ◦ Books were stored in monasteries seeing as after the fall of the Roman Empire  most of the people left with the ability to read and write were those of wealthy  status or of nobility ▪ Scientific knowledge was monopolized by religious institutions—> much  of the scientific knowledge of this time was influenced greatly by religion ◦ Ideas arose such as: “Fixity of Species”, “Great Chain of Being”, “Argument of  Design”, and the idea of the recent origin of the Earth ▪ Argument of Design­ God was able to create the most perfect beings that  there would be no need for them to change, examples used such as the  invertebrate eye and its complexity of lenses and structure • 16th to 19th Centuries (Eastern World) ◦ Li Shih­Chen (1518­1593) ▪ Chinese naturalist ▪ Organisms are influenced by their environments ▪  Binomial     system of naming organisms ▪ Hierarchical classification scheme • Renaissance ◦ Da Vinci played a big role in furthering the thoughts of the human body, anatomy, and dissection ◦ Travelers brought different species to new places exposing Europeans of greater  diversity ◦ Technological Advances­ telescope, barometer, etc. allowing natural scientists to  examine evidence in ways they were unable to before ◦ Galileo Galilei (1564­1642) ▪ Established a systematic empirical approach to looking at natural  phenomena  ▪ Confirmed Copernicus’ ideas that the earth was not the center of our  celestial system ▪ The notion of Change becomes more acceptable.. ▪ His ideas very much so challenged the current doctrines of the church and  was thus charged of heresy and spent much of his life from then on under  house arrest—> still his ideas pushed forward that changed the ideas of the celestial and natural world ◦ John Ray (1672­1705) ▪ 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. ▪ First person to use a biological perspective to define what a species is,  looking at it from the idea of giving birth to carry on the species ◦ Carolus Linnaeus (1707­1778) ▪ Systema Naturae ▪ Binomial System ▪ A hierarchical system of classification with organisms grouped on the  basis of similarities ▪ Binomen (Genus and Species) for humans: Homo sapiens ◦ Compte De Buffon (1707­1788) ▪ Histoire Naturelle ▪ 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, although he never really explained  how that change happens ◦ Jean Lamarck (1744­1829) ▪ Philosophie Zoologique ▪ First to propose a mechanism of evolutionary change to explain  biological diversity ▪ Recognized that organisms interact in a dynamic way with they  environments. This is important for producing evolutionary  changes. ▪ Theory of Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics ▪ Use or Disuse­ as environmental circumstances change, an  organisms activity patterns also change in terms of the degree or  lack there of that they use certain parts of their body—> parts that  they use a lot are emphasized overtime, and vise verse ▪ Inheritance­ those characteristics required over the lifetime of  a certain individual is then passed down to their offspring ▪ Interactions between individuals and their environment are  important in the evolutionary process ▪ BUT, also proposed incorrectly that evolutionary change  occurs during the lifetime of single individuals  ◦ Georges Cuvier (1769­1832) ▪ Described changes in the assemblages of biological organisms that were  tied to changes in rock layers of the Paris Basin  ▪ As geology played a larger role in science and fossils in rock layers were  studied to a greater degree, it became more and more difficult to deny the  idea of any sort of change overtime once rock layers discovered with  fossils revealed premodern animals and their changes throughout the rock  layers ▪ discovered that different layers of rock in the Paris Basin contained very  different kinds of fossils, upper layers were completely different than  those of the first layers, animals that seemed to not resemble current  animals at all were found on the lowest layers ▪ First to use concept of extinction ▪ Catastrophism ▪ Environmental catastrophes cause biological extinctions  which account for changes in fossil organisms ▪ This theory accounted for evidence of change in the fossil  records he discovered without being strictly evolutionist ◦ Charles Lyell )1797­1875) ▪ Principles of Geology ▪ Uniformitarianism­ geological changes that occurred in the past  continue to occur today and therefore those changes have been  constant ▪ Deep time ▪ immense periods of time are needed for these in depth geological  changes such as the accumulation of the fossils in the Paris Basin ▪ Lyell’s Uniformitarianism provided the time frame needed for acceptance  of organic change.         Pre­Darwin Developments ◦ Appreciation of diversity in the natural world, and methods of classifying  diversity ◦ Concept of species ◦ Notion of organic change ◦ Environment as an important agent of organic change ◦ Ancient origin of the natural world


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