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Encyclopedia > Physical anthropology

Physical anthropology, often called "biological anthropology", studies the mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability and variation, primatology, primate morphology, and the fossil record of human evolution. See also: Race. Anthropology (from the Greek word άνθρωπος, human or person) consists of the study of humanity (see genus Homo). ... A speculatively rooted phylogenetic tree of all living things, based on rRNA gene data, showing the separation of the three domains, bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes, as described initially by Carl Woese. ... Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ= give birth) is the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms. ... Binomial name Homo sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Subspecies Homo sapiens idaltu(extinct) Homo sapiens sapiens Homo (genus). ... The eye is an adaptation. ... Primatology is the study of primates. ... Families 15, See classification A primate is any member of the biological order Primates, the group that contains all lemurs, monkeys, apes, and humans. ... Comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in organisms. ... Ever since recorded history began, and probably before, people have found pieces of rock and other hard material with indentations from the remains of dead organisms. ... Human evolution is the process of change and development, or evolution, by which human beings emerged as a distinct species. ... It has been suggested that Validity of human races be merged into this article or section. ...

Physical anthropology developed in the 19th century, prior to the rise of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, also known as the theory of evolution, and Gregor Mendel's theory of genetics. Physical anthropology was so called because all of its data was physical (fossils, especially human bones). With the rise of Darwinian theory and the modern synthesis, anthropologists had access to new forms of data, and many began to call themselves "biological anthropologists." In his lifetime Charles Darwin gained international fame as an influential scientist examining controversial topics. ... Natural selection is the metaphor Charles Darwin used in 1859 to name the process he postulated to drive the adaptation of organisms to their environments and the origin of new species. ... A speculatively rooted phylogenetic tree of all living things, based on rRNA gene data, showing the separation of the three domains, bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes, as described initially by Carl Woese. ... Gregor Johann Mendel Gregor Johann Mendel (July 20, 1822 – January 6, 1884) was an Austrian monk who is often called the father of genetics for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants. ... Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ= give birth) is the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms. ... The modern evolutionary synthesis (often referred to simply as the modern synthesis), neo-Darwinian synthesis or neo-Darwinism, brings together Charles Darwins theory of the evolution of species by natural selection with Gregor Mendels theory of genetics as the basis for biological inheritance. ...

Some of the early branches of physical anthropology, such as early anthropometry, are now rejected as pseudoscience. Metrics such as the cephalic index were used to derive behavioral characteristics. Two of the earliest founders of scientific physical anthropology were Paul Pierre Broca and Franz Boas. Anthropometry demonstrated in an exhibit from a 1921 eugenics conference. ... Phrenology is seen today as a classic example of pseudoscience. ... The cephalic index is the ratio of the maximum breadth of the head to its maximum length (i. ... Paul Pierre Broca Paul Pierre Broca (June 28, 1824 – July 9, 1880) was a French physician, anatomist and anthropologist. ... Franz Boas Franz Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 22, 1942) was one of the pioneers of modern anthropology and is often called the Father of American Anthropology. Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did post-doctoral work in geography. ...


The study of human evolution often involves other specializations: Primatology is the study of primates. ... Population genetics is the study of the distribution of and change in allele frequencies under the influence of the five evolutionary forces: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation, migration and nonrandom mating. ... Evolutionary biology is a subfield of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change over time, i. ... Human evolution is the process of change and development, or evolution, by which human beings emerged as a distinct species. ... Paleoanthropology is the branch of physical anthropology that focuses on the study of human evolution, tracing the anatomic and genetic linkages of pre-humans from millions of years ago, up to modern times. ...

  • human osteology, the study of skeletal material. Experts in osteology are able to apply their skills and knowledge to other areas:
  • Paleopathology, which studies the traces of disease and injury in human skeletons
  • Forensic anthropology, the analysis and identification of human remains in the service of coroners or medical examiners. This research often provides law enforcement with important evidence.

Osteology is the scientific study of bones. ... Paleopathology is the study of ancient diseases. ... Forensic anthropology is a term meaning the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology in a legal setting most often in criminal cases where the victims remains are more or less skeletonized. ...

Renowned paleoanthropologists

Davidson Black Dr. Davidson Black (1884 – 1934) was a Canadian paleoanthropologist, best known for his discovery of Sinanthropus pekinensis (now Homo erectus pekinensis). ... Image:Broom R.jpg Robert Broom Prof. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Raymond Dart, holding the Taung Child skull Raymond Dart (February 4, 1893–22 November 1988) was an Australian anatomist and anthropologist best known for his discovery in 1924 of a fossil of Australopithecus at Taung in Northwestern South Africa. ... Eugene Dubois (January 28, 1858 - December 16, 1940) was a Dutch anthropologist, who earned world-wide fame with the discovery of Homo erectus in Java in 1891. ... Earnest A. Hooton (November 20, 1887 Clemansville, Wisconsin -- May 3, 1954 Cambridge, Massachussets) was a physical anthropologist known for his work on racial classification and his popular writings such as the book Up From The Apes. ... Donald Carl Johanson (born June 28, 1943) is an American paleoanthropologist known for his discovery of the skeleton of a 3. ... Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey (August 7, 1903–October 1, 1972) was a British archaeologist whose work was important in establishing human evolutionary development in Africa. ... Mary Leakey (February 6, 1913 – December 9, 1996) was a British physical anthropologist, who, along with others, discovered the first skull of a fossil ape on Rusinga Island. ... Richard Leakey Richard Erskine Frere Leakey (born 19 December 1944 in Nairobi, Kenya), is a British-born paleontologist, archaeologist and conservationist. ... Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (IPA: ; May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955), a Jesuit priest trained as a palaeontologist and a philosopher, was present at the discovery of Peking Man. ... Milford H. Wolpoff (born in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois) is a physical anthropologist. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Anthropology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4282 words)
Anthropology grew increasingly distinct from natural history and by the end of the nineteenth century the discipline began to crystallize into its modern form - by 1935, for example, it was possible for T.K. Penniman to write a history of the discipline entitled A Hundred Years of Anthropology.
Anthropology in the U.S. Anthropology in the United States was pioneered by staff of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology, such as John Wesley Powell and Frank Hamilton Cushing.
Anthropology is the study of human diversity--diversity of body and behavior, in the past and present.
Anthropology (3701 words)
Anthropology is the study of human beings, in particular the study of their physical character, evolutionary history, racial classification, historical and present-day geographic distribution, group relationships, and cultural history.
Anthropology emerged as an independent science in the late 18th cent., it developed two divisions: physical anthropology, which focuses on human Evolution and variation, using methods of Physiology, Anthropometry, Genetics, and Ecology; and cultural anthropology, which includes Archaeology, Ethnology, Social Anthropology, and Linguistics.
Anthropology was dominated in the latter 19th century by a linear conception of history, in which all human groups were said to pass through specified stages of cultural evolution, from a state of "savagery" to "barbarism" and finally to that of "civilized man" (i.e., western European man).
  More results at FactBites »



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