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Week 1

by: Laura Castro Lindarte
Laura Castro Lindarte
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First week notes. No class on Monday and have a lab on Darwin due on Thursday in the lab.
Introduction To Biological Anthropology
W. Andrew Barr
Class Notes
Biological, Anthropology




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Laura Castro Lindarte on Sunday September 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1001 at George Washington University taught by W. Andrew Barr in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 227 views. For similar materials see Introduction To Biological Anthropology in Biology/Anthropology at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 09/04/16
August 29, 2016  What is Biological Anthropology?   ● Anthropology = study of humankind in a CROSS­CULTURAL contexts   a. Not just western civilizations but ALL SOCIETIES/CONTEXT   ● 4 major subfields:   1. Socio Cultural: ​study of ​human societies i​ n cross­cultural lense   a. Differs because emerge in day to day life (participant observation)   b. Culture: shared behaviour and values that are learned in society   2. Archeology: ​study of ​material remains ​of past cultures   a. Not only what but why   3. Linguistics: ​ tudy of one aspect of cultural­ l​ anguage (origins, structure and  usage)   a. What does language tell us about culture?   4. Biological: ​study of humans as ​biological organisms with an EVOLUTIONARY  FRAMEWORK   a. What we share with animals?   b. What we share with primates?   c. What makes us unique?   i. All other species are unique as well   ii. Also very SIMILAR to others especially fundamentally   iii. Depends on recent common ancestor   ● Subfields of Biological Anthropology:   1. Primatology: ​study of close relatives (primates)   2. Paleoanthropology: s ​ tudy of ​ANCIENT ​human origins   3. Skeletal biology and paleoanthropology: s ​ tudy of bones and the change of  diseases   4. Human biology: ​factors that underlie d​ iversity, growth and reproduction   a. Biological factors   5. Forensic Anthropology: u ​ sing tools to help legal/medical context   a. Applied   6. Anthropological genetics: l​ ook at genes and their effect   a. Can be used to look at population history   7. Evolutionary neuroscience: h ​ ow human b​ rains ​are unique         August 31, 2016   Origins of Evolutionary Thought   ● Science: ​an approach to gaining information about natural selection phenomenon  through observation and experimentation   ○ It is EMPIRICAL → knowledge through observing   ○ Clearly state predictions that can be falsifiable (can be proven wrong)   ● Steps of science:   1. Observation a​ nd description of phenomena   2. Formulating ​hypothesis to explain observation   3. Hypothesis testing ​against empirical evidence (i.e data)   a. Go out and test our explanation   b. In historical sciences like anthropology you use observations as  experiments since you cannot do hand­on experiments   4. If hypothesis can’t be falsifiabl​ heory (largely supported sets of generalization  that allows us to predict what happens in specific condit​ ill be formed   ● Science is a ​self­correcting process because of falsifiable   ○ Lots of emphasis on proving hypothesis wrong   ○ All based on looking at data to try to prove wrong, never prove right  ● Unlike vernacular theory,​ CIENTIFIC theory is:  ○ Established ​body of knowledge   ○ Based on observation of​ actual events and collection of factual da​ ttempt  to explain how things occur   ○ Based on ​TESTABLE hypothesis → g ​ ets tested over and over   ● Evolution is an example of a theory   ○ It is the fundamental theory in biology   ● Evolution : CHANGE THROUGH TIME   ○ Evolutions are seen with many different topics   ● Biological evolution: ​history   ○ Ancient Greece:   ■ Anaximander:   a. Looked for ​ ATURAL causes   b. Before supernatural causes used for natural phenomenons   c. Notion of change ​ human and other animals came from fish)   ■ Plato:   a. “Eidos”= ideal forms​ f objects that are imperfectly imitated in real  world → ​diversity is all the objects trying but failing to be eidos   b. Fixity of Species: ​species have a defining essence tha​ IXED  AND UNCHANGEABLE  ■ Aristotle:   a. Appreciated ​organic diversity ​ bservations   b. Organized and classified organisms into​ scala naturae” (Great  Chain) of beings with HUMANS ON TOP   ○ The Middle Ages:   ■ Most of ​people could not read/write   ■ Books in monasteries  ■ Scientific knowledge was MONOPOLIZED BY CHURCH   ■ Species were created in a fixed way and science just about observing it   a. Argument of design = all features of animals were seen as  perfectly designed for purpose   i. The eye was a clear example     ■ Most ideas go against Darwin’s evolution   a. One of them is the ​ arth having a recent origi​ based on the  Bible)   ○ In the East:   ■ Li Shih­Chen:   a. Chinese naturalist   b. Organisms influenced by environment and would change due to it  c. Binomial system of naming organisms   ○ Renaissance:   ■ Careful description and i​ ncreased knowledge of anatomy   ■ Explorers traveling and ​ iscovering new species   a. Much more diversity in animals and humans   ■ New technology to c​ ollect data to prove church wrong   ■ Galileo Galilei:   a. Established a systematic empirical approach to look at natural  phenomena   b. Confirmed Copernicus's idea that Earth wasn’t center of the  universe   i. Important because showed that you can question the  church   ■ John Ray:   a. Defined s​ pecies as group of animals that could reproduce with  each other   b. Species share similarities with other species​ created genus to  classify this)   ■ Carolous Limaneus:  a. Wanted to describe structure of ALL living things  i. Kingdom → Phylum → Class → Order → Family →  ​ Genus  → Species (two last things is the name)   b. Systema Naturae­ binomial system to classify organisms   i. Humans is ​homo sapiens   ○ 16 ­ 19th Century:   ■ Compte De Buffon: ​Historie Naturelle   a. Animals that go to new environment change in response  i. Did not talk about HOW they change   b. External environment is important for biological change   ■ Jean Lamarck:   a. First to propose mechanism of evolutionary change to  explain diversity   b. All species came from God and changed over time based  on how much certain parts of body were used → c ​ hanges  passed on   i. Inheritance of Acquired Traits: evolution occurred in  one organism’s life  ■ George Cuvier:   a. Described changes in the assemblages of b ​ iological  organisms were tied to changes in rock layers   b. Catastrophism: catastrophes leads to extinctions    ■ Charles Lyell: ​Principles of Geology   a. Uniformitarianism: environmental phenomenon that  happens now and reshape Earth did so in part too   b. The landscapes seen presently could only occur in E ​ ARTH  WAS OLD   i. Gave Darwin the time frame he needed   ○ Summary of pre­Darwin developments:   ■ Appreciation of diversity i​ n natural world and methods of c ​ lassifying  diversity   ■ Concept of ​“species”   ■ Notion of o ​ rganic change   ■ Importance in environment   ■ Earth is very old ( ​ provided the needed time frame)                                                           


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