About the blog

"The “Anthropology for Beginners” blog by Suman Nath is one of the most user/reader friendly sites relative to such an endeavor." - Global Oxford "This blog contains lots of study materials on Anthropology and related topics" - University of Kassel University of Houston includes Anthropology for beginners in their recommended reading list. This is a humble endeavour to collect study materials on anthropology and then share it with interested others. How to use: 1. One can see materials by clicking "Blog Archives" which is arranged chronologically. 2. Or can search in the search box provided by using key words. I have not tried to be exhaustive, but its just elementary materials which will help newcomers to build up their materials better. Because of the rising number of requests from people across the world, Anthropology for beginners has started a youtube channel. Those who are willing to have some explanations to the materials available in this blog can subscribe to this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_cq5vZOzI9aDstQEkru_MQ/videos Watch the introductory video to get an overview of the youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY9DOnD0Uxo You can write me about the posts. Feel free to write me at sumananthro1@gmail.com Best, Suman

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Branches of Biological Anthropology


Branches of Biological Anthropology


Biological Anthropology: 1

Branches of Biological anthropology: 1



Biological Anthropology:

Biological anthropology is the subdiscipline of anthropology that studies human evolution and human variation by using biological materials. It is also known as physical anthropology, which originally referred to the study of human biology within the framework of evolution and with an emphasis on the interaction between biology and culture. Physical anthropology is the original term, and it reflects the initial interests of anthropologists in describing human physical variation. The American Association of Physical Anthropologists, its journal, as well as many college courses and numerous publications, retain this term. The designation biological anthropology reflects the shift in emphasis to more biologically oriented topics, such as genetics, evolutionary biology, nutrition, physiological adaptation, and growth and development. This shift occurred largely because of advances in the field of genetics since the late 1950s. Although we’ve continued to use the traditional term in the title of this textbook, you’ll find that all the major topics pertain to biological issues.


Branches of Biological anthropology:

Paleoanthropology is the study of human evolution, particularly as revealed in the fossil record, is a major subfield of physical anthropology. Thousands of specimens of human ancestors (mostly fragmentary) are now kept in research collections. Taken together, these fossils span about 7 million years of human prehistory; and although incomplete, they provide us with significantly more knowledge than was available just 15 years ago. It’s the ultimate goal of paleoanthropological research to identify the various early hominid species, establish a chronological sequence of relationships among them, and gain insights into their adaptation and behavior. Only then will we have a clear picture of how and when humankind came into being.

Primatology is the study of nonhuman primates, has become increasingly important since the late 1950s (Fig. 1-9). Behavioral studies, especially those conducted on groups in natural environments, have implications for many scientific disciplines. Because nonhuman primates are our closest living relatives, identifying the underlying factors related to social behavior, communication, infant care, reproductive behavior, and so on, helps us to better understand the natural forces that have shaped so many aspects of modern human behavior. But sadly, an even more important reason to study nonhuman primates is that most species are now threatened or seriously endangered. Indeed, as you will learn, some are very close to extinction. Only through research will scientists be able to recommend policies that can better ensure the survival of many nonhuman primates and thousands of other species as well.

Osteology, the study of the skeleton, is central to physical anthropology. In fact, it’s so important that when many people think of biological anthropology, the first thing that comes to mind is bones (although they often ask about dinosaurs). The emphasis on osteology is partly due to the fact that a thorough knowledge of skeletal structure and function is critical to the interpretation of fossil material. Bone biology and physiology are of major importance to many other aspects of physical anthropology. Many osteologists specialize in studies that emphasize various measurements of skeletal elements. This type of research is essential, for example, to determine stature and growth patterns in archaeological populations. One subdiscipline of osteology, called paleopathology, is the study of disease and trauma in skeletons from archaeological sites. Paleopathology is a prominent subfield that investigates the prevalence of trauma, certain infectious diseases (such as syphilis and tuberculosis), nutritional deficiencies, and many other conditions that can leave evidence in bone (Fig. 1-10). This research tells us a great deal about the lives of individuals and populations from the past. Paleopathology also yields information regarding the history of certain disease processes, and for this reason it’s of interest to scientists in biomedical fields.

Forensic anthropology is directly related to osteology and paleopathology, and many people have become interested in it because of forensic shows on television. Technically, this approach is the application of anthropological (usually osteological and sometimes archaeological) techniques to legal issues. Forensic anthropologists help identify skeletal remains in mass disasters or other situations where a human body has been found. Forensic anthropologists have been involved in numerous cases having important legal, historical, and human consequences. They were instrumental in identifying the skeletons of most of the Russian imperial family, executed in 1918; and many participated in the overwhelming task of trying to identify the remains of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Anatomical studies are another area of interest for physical anthropologists. In living organisms, bones and teeth are intimately linked to the muscles and other tissues that surround and act on them. Consequently, a thorough knowledge of soft tissue anatomy is essential to the understanding of biomechanical relationships involved in movement. Knowledge of such relationships is fundamental to the interpretation of the structure and function of limbs and other structures in extinct animals now represented only by fossilized remains. For these reasons and others, many physical anthropologists specialize in anatomical studies. In fact, several physical anthropologists hold professorships in anatomy departments at universities and medical schools.

Dental Anthropology is the study of the development, eruption, number, size, morphology, modification, wear, and pathology of teeth, among other topics, in order to answer questions like dietary pattern, evolution of cusping and its relationship with diet and culture. Dental anthropology studies the teeth formula, cariogenesis, evolution of cusping and pathological development in order to reflect on the mechanisms of evolution.

Human genetics is the study of inheritance of human traits. It is used in biological anthropology in order to better understand the biological variations among contemporary human populations. Human genetics encompasses a variety of overlapping fields including: classical genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics, genomics, population genetics, developmental genetics, clinical genetics, and genetic counseling.

Population Genetics is the study of the genetic composition of populations, including distributions and changes in genotype and phenotype frequency in response to the processes of natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and gene flow. Biological anthropologists use the approach of population genetics to interpret microevolutionary patterns of human variation. Population genetics is the area of research that, among other things, examines allele frequencies in populations and attempts to identify the various factors that cause allele frequencies to change in specific groups.

No comments:

Post a Comment