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What is Anthropology?

The holistic study of the human species. Anthropology includes the study of human biology, human physical evolution, human cultural evolution and human adaptation. 


What is cultural anthropology?

A subfield of anthropology that focuses on human cultural behaviorand cultural systems and the variation in cultural expression among human groups.


What is Archaeology?

A subfield of anthropology that studies the human cultural past and the reconstruction of past cultural systems.


What is Linguistic Anthropology?

A subfield of Anthropology that studies language as a human characteristic and attempts to explain the differences among languages and the relationship between and language and the society that uses it. 


What is Biological Anthropology?

A subfield of anthropology that studies humans as a biocultural species. 


What is the scientific method?


What is a theory?

A well-supported general idea that explains a large set of factual patterns. In science, theory is a positive term. 


What is deductive reasoning?

Suggesting specific data that would be found if a hypothesis were true, a step in the scientific method involving the testing of hypothesees. 


What is essentialism?

The idea that every living thing has an original, and essential form. (Thus species do not change substantially over time). This idea was that of Plato and Aristotle. 


What is the great chain of being?

The idea that all living things can be ranked in order of greatness and purity.  



What is catastrophism?

The idea that the earth has been repeatedly changed by natural disasters. (Georges Couvier)


What is uniformitarianism?

The idea that present-day geological and and bilogical processes can also explain the history of the earth and its life. 


What is the inheritance of acquired characteristics?

The incorrect idea, associated with Lamarck, that adaptive traits acquired during an organism's lifetime can be passed on to its offspring. 


Name Darwin's postulates

  1. Limited Capacity: The ability of a population to expand is infinite, but the capacity of any environment to support any environment to support populations is always finite. 
  2. Variation in Fitness: Organisms within populations vary and this variation affects their ability to survive and reproduce. (*Note: Fitness does not mean physical fitness)
  3. Inheritance: Variations are transmitted from parents to offspring. 


What is natural selection?

Evolutionary change based on the differential reproductive success of individuals within a species. 

Natural selection 


Non Random, Differential, Success


What is Fitness?

The relative adaptiveness of an individual organism, measured ultimately by reproductive success. 


What is adaptation? 

The state in which an organism is adjusted to and can survive in its environment through its physical traits and behaviors. Also, the process by which an organism develops this state through natural processes. 


Who is Ussher?

James Ussher (1581-1656) was an Irish archbishop who used the dates on the bible to measure how  old earth was. He said that creation was on Sunday, October 23 in the year 4004 BC. so about 6,000 years old. 


Who is Cuvier?

Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) was a French naturalist. He was a proponent of catastrophism who believed that a "prototype" of each creature had been created and that its environment had been planned to fit eachother. He though he could reconstruct prototypes by usiing the fossil remains of creatures and compared ancient creatures to living ones. In doing this he began a method called comparative anatomy in which scientists compare the physical features of among animal species to reconstruct a fossil species from its fragments. 


Who is Hutton?

James Hutton (1726-1797) was a Scotsman who had the idea of uniformitarianism. He said that the history of earth lied in its strata so we should look at the earth to look for clues about the past. 


Who is Lyell?

Charles Lyell ( 1797-1875) was born in Scottland the year Hutton died. He supported Huttons idea about uniformitarianism and believed that the rate of geological change was uniform. But he also assumed that the earth was the same and had always been the same and would stay the same. (He was incorrect)


Who was Buffon?

Comte Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon ( 1707-1788) was a French scholar who brought the idea of uniformitarianism and also assumed that the earth had been around longer than 6,000 years as Ussher had predicted. 


Who was Lamarck?

Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck (1744-1829) was a French naturalist that supported Hooke's idea about adaptation. He too, thought that all living things have physical traits that helped it adapt with its environment. He also had the incorrect idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, which stated that adaptive traits acquired during an organism's life would be passed onto its offspring. 


Who is Malthus?

Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)  argued that human populations increased at a more rapid rate than do resources. Thus there is competition within any population over the resources available to them and this is what keeps these populations in check. 


Who is Darwin? 

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was an Englishman that is usually associated with our understanding of biological evolution. Evolution being the a change through tiime with reference to biological species. He had the idea of Natural selection that a species adapted to its environment and that physical changes in generations were attributed to the resources available in the organism's environment. 


Who was Wallace?

Alfred Russel Wallace ( 1823-1913) independently came up with the same idea as Darwin about evolution around the same time. Unfortunately Darwin published his work when he discovered there was someone else with his idea and so now he recieves all the credit for the same idea Wallace had. 


What is microevolution?

Evolutionary change within a single species through time. 


What is macroevolution?

The branching of new species from existing species. 


What is blending inheritance?

A popular idea (though incorrect) during Darwin's time that inheritance was a "blending"  of material from both parents that would then be passed onto offspring. 


Who is Mendel?