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Define biological anthropology

Study of human biology within an evolutionary framework. It has both a biology and culture perspective thus called biocultural perspective


Define Palaeoanthropology

The study of our fossil ancestors: - anatomy - evolutionary relationships - ecology - behaviour


Define human osteology and skeletal biology

The study of modern humans in terms of: - growth - physiology - development - responses to illness Subfields - palaeopathology - forensic anthropology


Define primatology

The study of nonhuman primates: - living and extinct prosimians, monkeys and apes - anatomy, genetics, behaviour and ecology Context for study of human evolution


Define human biology

Studies of growth and development, human adaptation and variation


What is science?

It is a process, the scientific method


Outline the steps in the scientific method

1 define a problem 2 make observations 3 develop a hypothesis 4 collect and test data 5 accept, reject or modify the hypothesis 6 theory, paradigm etc


Who was the first true philosopher of science?



What were Aristotle beliefs on science

- based on the Christian doctrine

Two main ideas

1. The fixity of Science

  • all life created by God and no chance since

2. the great chain of being (Scala naturae)

  • organisms ranked from simple to complex
  • humans on top closest to God



What were the beliefs around science in the Middle ages?

- little changes since Aristotle still believe in Fixity of Species and the Great Chain of Being

- Life forms and nature never change

- Life created by God; hierarchy with man on top

- the earth was thought to be young

- powerful religious systems but a fascination with "the others"


When did modern science begin?

Renaissance age - the Age of Discovery



What were the beliefs at the start of the era of Modern Science?

- value of observation as opposed to faith or belief

- interest in natural world increases

- European travel to other regions and the New World

- questioning of previous beliefs

- Ideas of Fixity of Species and Great Chain of Being not changed


Who introduced the concept of genus and species and when?

John Ray 1627-1705


Explain the early study of variation

- 17th to 18th century

- interested in the study of classifying of life as a mechanism to study variation

- variation was still viewed as static (not changing)


Explain Carolus Linnaeus contribution to Science

- developed the modern system of taxonomy

- developed binomial nomenclature and systema natura (1735)

- Linnaeus identified four racial categories

  • Homo sapiens africanus (Africans)
  • Homo sapiens americanus (American Indians)
  • Homp sapiens asiaticus (Asian)
  • Homo sapiens europanus (Europeans)


Define taxonomy

the science of biological classification


What are the physical characteristics of homo sapiens africanus?

  • skin - black, silky
  • hair - black, frizzled
  • nose - flat
  • lips - tumid


What are the physical characteristics of homo sapiens americanus?

  • skin - reddish
  • hair - black, straight, thick
  • nose - wide nostrils


What are the physical characteristics of homo sapiens asiaticus?

  • skin - sallow (yellow)
  • hair - black
  • eyes - dark


What are the physical characteristics of homo sapiens europanus?

  • skin - white
  • hair - long, flowing
  • eyes - blue


What are the behaviour characteristics of homo sapiens africanus?

  • crafty
  • indolent
  • negligent
  • governed by caprice or the will of their masters


What are the behavioural characteristics of homo sapiens americanus?

  • obstinate
  • merry
  • free
  • regulated by custom


What are the behavioural characteristics of homo sapiens asiaticus?

  • haughty
  • avaricious
  • severe
  • ruled by opinions


What are the behavioural characteristics of homo sapiens europanus?

  • acute
  • inventive
  • gentle
  • governed by laws

NOTE: significant influenced by beliefs at the time - colonialism, slavery, essentialism and wider religious debates at the time


What other racial classification systems existed in the early modern age aside for Linnaeus?

  • Johann Friedrich Blumanbach
    • 5 categories - Ethiopian, American, Asian, Caucasian, Malayan


Define eugenics 

The science that deals with all influences that improve qualities of the race; also with those that develop them as to the utmost advantage


What important contributions to modern science happened in the 18th - 19th mid modern science era?

  • Eugenics
  • public displays of Indigenous peoples
  • Polygenists
    • diversity represents different species
    • rise of craniometrics by Morton study carried on by Nott and Gliddon, 


What events in the mid 20th century moved science discussion away from essentialism, typological approaches to human biological variation?

  • Boas immigrant crania study
  • Biology's "new synthesis"


Explain the key findings in Boas Immigrant Crania Study

  • found the cephalic index
  • means at least some of the variation we see in humans is due to environmental exposure and is not fixed


What is biology's new synthesis?

  • Natural selection (1859) + Mendel's selection (1900) + population genetics (1920s - 1930s)


Describe Robert Hooke's contribution to geology that provided evidence that the natural world had changed over time

  • showed fossils are remains of past organisms (1665)
  • micrographia (developed the microscope, 1667)
  • revealed that fossils reveal the history of the past 
  • 1635-1703 


Describe James Hutton's contribution to geology that provided evidence that the natural world had changed over time

  • recognized stratification of rocks as arrangements of superimposed layers
  • established basic principles of archaeological excavation
  • established the principle of uniformitarianism
  • history of the earth (1785)


Describe George Cuvier's contribution to geology that provided evidence that the natural world had changed over time

  • was a vertebrate paleontologist
  • extensively studied fossils in particular mammoths
  • revealed variation in the fossil record
  • developed concepts of extinction and catastrophism
  • 1769-1832


Define uniformitarianism 

  • idea that all landforms were developed by processes (volcanos, erosion, sedimentation)
  • thus processes are uniform over time
  • model was incompatible with tradition as the great age for the earth


Define catastrophism

  • idea that periodic catastrophes occur
  • caused by changes in landforms
  • replacement of fossils communities


Describe Charles Lyell's contribution to geology that provided evidence that the natural world had changed over time

  • had to establish the age of the earth as biological teaching only suggested earth was created in 4004 BC
  • wrote principles of geology (1833)


Describe Jacques Boucher de Perthes' contribution to geology that provided evidence that the natural world had changed over time

  • published first convincing evidence that stone tools found in France were associated with extinct animals (1841)
  • meant human history had to be longer then the Bible suggested


What model did Comte de Buffon develop to explain the changes in organisms seen in the mid modern age?

  • observed plants and animals from many habitats
  • noted patterns in variation
  • proposed mechanism 
    • each region has typical influence
    • populations entering a region are changed by its influence 
  • 1707-1778


What model did Jean-Baptiste Lamarack develop to explain the changes in organisms seen in the mid modern age?

  • inheritance of acquired characteristics
  • each environment has different demands
  • animals change over their lifetime to adapt to these demands
  • these changes are passed directly to their offspring
  • also not a process of selection, but introduced the idea of adaptation
  • 1744-1829


Explain the theory of natural selection

  • theory developed independently by Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913)
  • both were familiar with 
    • debates in geology
    • debates in evolution
    • Theories of Thomas Malthus
      • human populations grow constantly
      • resources (food, land) are finite and place limits on population growth
  • Both show variation in nature through their travel and work


Explain Darwin's contribution to the theory of evolution

  • observed finch populations on the Galapagos islands while on the HMS Beagle
  • influenced heavily by Lyell and Thomas Malthus
  • Wrote The Origin of the Species by Natural Selection (1859)
  • Changes in the organism over time with the change being neither positive or negative


Explain Wallace's contribution to the theory of evolution

  • Wrote On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart from the Original Type (1858) 
  • was on The Mischief - on the Amazon


Compare Lamarack views of evolution to the Darwinian/Wallacean view

Lamarack                                Darwin/Wallace

- original group uniform      - original group had variation

- physical attributes             - natural selection favors 
change to survive in            attribute best suited to 
environment (ie neck          survival (ie longer necks)
length of giraffes stretch
over life of giraffe to reach

- descendants with longer      - after many generations 
trunks after many                    variation still exists but
generations (change is           population as a whole
passed on)                               shows a general change
                                                  in the trait (ie longer neck)




Explain the steps in Darwin's principles of evolution

  1. Producing offspring at a faster rate than food supplies increase
  2. Biological variation exists in all species
  3. There is competition among species
  4. Favorable traits lead to fitness
  5. Environment matters
  6. Traits are inherited, leading to reproductive success
  7. Time = more variation --> different species
  8. Geographic isolation --> new species


What was Mendel's contribution to genetics?

  • Discovered the principles of inheritance even before chromosomes were discovered
  • Grew more than 28,000 pea plants
  • ‘Discrete’ physical unit is inherited
  • Challenged the model of blended inheritance


What were Mendel's three main principles or postulates?

1. Principle of Segregation

  • That parents contribute equally to an offspring’s genetic makeup
  • An organism has two alleles for each gene (which can be the same or different), one allele from each parent

2. Principles of Dominance and Recessiveness

  • Recessive: Dominant: Homozygous: Heterozygous: 

3. Principle of Independent Assortment

  • The distribution of one pair of alleles into gametes does not influence the distribution of another pair
  • The genes controlling different traits are inherited independently of one another


Define recessive in terms of genetics

a trait that is not expressed when in association with another more dominant allele e.g., A


What is dominant in terms of genetics

a trait that is governed by an allele that is expressed in the presence of another allele e.g., a


What is homozygous in terms of genetics?

having the same allele at the same locus on both members of a pair of chromosomes e.g., aa or AA4


What is heterozygous in terms of genetics?

having different alleles at the same locus on members of a pair of chromosomes e.g., Aa


What is genotype?

The genetic makeup of an individual

AA, aa, Aa = genotype

◦ e.g., AA = homozygous dominant

◦ e.g., aa = homozygous recessive

◦ e.g., Aa = heterozygous dominant


What is phenotype?

Physical manifestations of the gene

Tall, short = phenotype 

◦ Tall = Dominant = which could be from genotype AA or Aa

◦ Short = Recessive = which could only be from genotype aa


What are the different patterns of Mendelian Inheritance?

1. Autosomal dominant traits

◦ Governed by dominant alleles on autosomes – any chromosome except X or Y

◦ e.g., brachydactyly

2. Autosomal recessive traits

◦ Influenced by recessive alleles on autosomes – any chromosome except X or Y

◦ e.g., albinism

3. Sex-linked traits

◦ Controlled by genes located on the X and Y chromosomes

◦ e.g., hemophilia


Explain Pleiotropy

when a single gene influences more than one phenotypic trait

e.g. Phenylketonuria

◦ Autosomal recessive condition

◦ Leads to the accumulation of large quantities of the amino acid phenylalanine

◦ Causes mental delay and other phenotypic variation

◦ Must be fed altered diet – importance of environment


Explain Polygenic

a trait that is influenced by two or more genes

◦ e.g., hair, eye, skin colour

◦ Epigenetic effects


What is the new or modern synthesis of population genetics?

Integrates modern genetics and the theory of evolution by natural selection

◦ First developed in 1920s and 1930s

◦ Theodosius Dobzhansky = first synthesizer

◦ Key differences from Darwin’s original model

: ◦ Definition of evolution: a change in allele frequency from one generation to the next

◦ Understanding the causes of evolution


What are the five causes or forces of evolution?

1. Natural selection

2. Mutation

3. Genetic drift

4. Gene flow

5. Sexual selection


What is microevolution?

Small-scale evolution, such as changes in allele frequency, that occurs from one generation to the next


What is macroevolution?

Large-scale evolution, such as the appearance of a new species, that occurs after hundreds of thousands of generations


Define gene pool

All the genetic information in the breeding population


Define population 

within a species, a community of individuals where mates are usually found


What is allele frequency?

 How common an allele is in the gene pool


What factors separate human breeding populations?

1. Geographic barriers

◦ Extreme example – Easter Island, no outside mating for centuries

2. Customs and attitudes

◦ Example – a religion that only allows marriage within that faith


Explain natural selection

is the main process that increases the frequency of adaptive traits through time

◦ Adaptive = results in greater reproductive success in a particular environment


What are three main conditions or principles of natural selection?

1. Variation

Variability between individuals within a population gives reproductive edge to some in a changing environment, leading to gradual change over time in the population as a whole

◦ Process became encapsulated in “survival of the fittest” (Herbert Spencer)

2. Heritability

3. Differential reproductive success


What are three patterns by which natural selection can act on a specific trait?

A) Directional Selection

◦ Selection for one allele over the other alleles, causing allele frequencies to shift in one direction
 ◦ e.g., larger brain size in humans and beak breadth in finches

 B) Stabilizing Selection

◦ Selection against the extremes of the phenotypic distribution, decreasing the genetic diversity for this trait in the population
◦ e.g., human birth weight

 C) Disruptive Selection

◦ Selection for both extremes of the phenotypic distribution; may eventually lead to a speciation event


What is a mutation?

are errors in DNA replication (Important source of variation) 

◦ Point mutations: a chemical change in a single base of a DNA sequence; must occur in gametes to have any affect on the population

e.g., sickle-cell trait

Occurs constantly and are usually neutral or detrimental (only occasionally adaptive)

Only source of NEW alleles


Explain gene flow

  • Also known as admixture
  • Exchange of mates with another breeding population
  • Can add new alleles
  • Helps to maintain variability in small populations
  • Without gene flow, speciation can occur


Explain genetic drift

  • An allele becomes more or less common due to chance
  • Most effective in small populations
  • Two forms: ◦ Founder effect ◦ Genetic bottlenecks


Explain the Hardy Weinberg principle

Is only valid in cases where the frequencies do not change (equilibrium)

◦ See with no mutation, no natural selection, no gene flow, large populations, random mating, and if all members produce the same number of offspring

Hardy-Weinberg law of equilibrium is a mathematical model

◦ Reflects the relationship between frequencies of alleles and of genotypes

◦ Used for testing whether a population is undergoing evolutionary changes

◦ Hypothesizes that gene frequencies remain the same because no evolutionary change takes place


What is the formula for the Hardy Weinberg equation?

p+ 2pq + q2=1



2pq = Tt




Define subspecies

Subspecies: A division of a species; usually arises as a consequence of geographical isolation within a species; can be differentiated from other subspecies based on one or more phenotypic traits


Explain the race concept

◦ Broad regional categories based on variation in human appearance (Biological Race)

◦ Race has an important social reality in many societies (Social Race)

◦ Race as everyday “fact” of life


Explain biological race

A group of people defined by:

◦ Common ancestry
◦ Genetic similarity
◦ A few selected, physical, visible traits only Implies greater genetic similarity within than between races Implies an objective system

Should not include other (cultural, linguistic, religious, etc.) traits


Why is human variation described as being clinical?

Human variation is clinal

◦ Cline: gradual change in some phenotypic characteristic from one population to the next
There are no “natural” boundaries
◦ Arbitrary divisions and definitions are still necessary
 ◦ When does “white” begin and end?
◦ Which parent defines “race”?
 ◦ When do you stop? How many races are there?
◦ Human populations interbreed

Biological race is not “real”


Explain how race is a measure of ancestry

It focuses on genetic relationships

It focuses on geographic origin

Ancestral relationships are traceable through

◦ Mitochondrial DNA

◦ Nuclear DNA


Explain racism

Racism frequently rests on claimed biological differences ◦ This is why it is important to critically analyze the biological traits used in defining race
◦ Scientific racism
◦ The Bell Curve & IQ tests


What influences skin color?

Most important factor in racial classification
◦ a.k.a. folk taxonomies

Three influences on skin color
1. hemoglobin
2. carotene
3. melanin Influenced by natural selection

More pigmentation at tropics, less in northern latitudes


What are the different identifiable racial features?

1. skin color

2. eye form

Epicanthic fold distinguishes eye from
◦ Is the Flap of skin extending from the eyelid to the bridge of the nose
◦ Function unknown



What is Gloger's rule?

Gloger’s Rule: Mammals tend to have darker skin towards the equator and lighter skin towards the poles.


In the 1950's researchers stopped studying visible phenotypic traits to study what instead?



What is polymorphism?

Two or more distinct phenotypes that exist within a population
e.g., lactose intolerance
▪ Lactose
▪ Lactase
▪ Lactose intolerance
▪ Selection for lactose tolerance in populations with long history of dairying
e.g., sickle-cell anemia
e.g., blood types


Explain polymorphism in blood types

Governed by three alleles – A, B, O
◦ Located at the ABO locus on the ninth chromosome
◦ Code for the production of an antigen
A and B = dominant
O is recessive
A and B = co-dominant


Explain gene flow and protein polymorphisms

Seen in contemporary populations:
 ◦ e.g., origins of Hungarian people
◦ e.g., migration history of Jewish people

Morphological features:
◦ Must be transmitted in simple genetic fashion
◦ Must be resistant to environmental factors
◦ Must be easily examined
◦ e.g., features of the teeth


When estimating sex, bioarchaeologists recognize what five skeletal sexes?

  1. male
  2. probable male
  3. ambiguous
  4. probable female
  5. female


Explain how archaeologists use life stages to understand human variation

Life history approach
 ◦ Study of the evolution and function of life stages and behaviours related to those stages
◦ Human growth, development, senescence, and aging differ from that of other apes and other non-human primates, and other mammals
◦ These differences include:

  • Altricial offspring
  • Slow and prolonged growth including childhood and adolescence stages
  • Late start to reproductio
  • Menopause
  • Survival into 80s and beyond
  • Maximum life span over 122 years


What are the four stages of human growth?

1. Prenatal or gestational: conception to birth
2. Postnatal:
◦ Neonatal: first month
◦ Infancy: second month to first tooth or to end of lactation
◦ Childhood: 3 to 7
◦ Juvenile: 7-10/12
◦ Puberty: days or weeks…

3. Adolescence: puberty to ? (5-10 years)
4. Adult: ??? -120ish ◦ Old age/senescence


Explain menarche and menopause

Changes in onset of puberty (decrease in age of menarche)
◦ Environmental factors (hormones in food etc.)

Only humans have a significant part of the life span extend beyond female reproductive years
◦ Why does menopause occur?


Explain how culture is important to understanding adaptation

Culture is also part of the human package of adaptive strategies which means that it is also a source of change in both human culture and in human biology
 ◦ Clearing of forests for horticulture establishing condition for natural selection for hemoglobin S
 ◦ Domestication of animals (cattle and other milk-producers) initiating natural selection for the persistence of lactase digestion into adulthood
◦ Ability to travel by air has increased the speed at which infectious diseases can spread
◦ Stature as indication of stress
◦ Dietary excess and overnutrition contributing to obesity pandemic
◦ Activity and skeletal homeostasis and reproductive ecology Humans respond biologically to all of these biocultural environmental circumstances
However, if these count as adaptation is debated


Define adaptability

Ability of an organism to make positive anatomical or physiological changes in the context of long-term exposure to environment (e.g., high altitude)


Define acclimatization

Ability of an organism to make very short-term changes in physiology in response to environment (e.g., heat and cold)


How have humans adapted to respond to hot and cold?


  • Vasodilation - An increase in blood flow to the surface of the body to dissipate heat
  • Sweating -Dissipating heat at the surface of the body

◦ Cold

  • Vasoconstriction - A decrease in blood flow to reduce heat loss
  • Shivering - Chief mechanism for producing heat


What is Bergmann's Rule?

The principle that an organism’s size is heatrelated; smaller bodies are adapted to hot environments, and larger bodies to cold environments


What is Allen's rule?

The principle that an organism’s limb lengths are heat-related; limbs are long in hot environments and shorter in cold ones


How do humans respond to living at altitude?

At 10,000 feet above sea level
 ◦ Hypoxia - a condition in which body tissues are deprived of oxygen

Acclimatization will occur in response process involves:

 ◦ Increase production of red blood cells
 ◦ Greater lung volume
◦ Ability to use oxygen more efficiently

NOTE: - process different depending on whether you grew up in a high altitude environment


How do humans respond to solar radiation?

Skin colour is controlled by solar radiation

Melanin, a brown pigment that determines the darkness of the skin is secreted by melanocytes in response to UV

tan/sunburn + thickening of the skin = protection from UV(cancer etc.)


How do humans respond to nutrition?

Humans also adapt to diet, to the kinds of foods we eat, to nutrition, and to the deriving of nutrients from those foods

Body functions require nutrients to occur

– too much or too little and those body functions are affected

Majority of human populations are undernourished (undernutrition)

– see stunted growth, predisposition for disease, etc. Increasingly the opposite is becoming the problem
– too much food and too many of the wrong kinds (overnutrition)

  • see increase in type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease, etc


How do humans respond to workload?

  • The skeleton must be maintained to support the body and to allow for movement
  • Bone growth and development is subject to a range of factors
    • genes, physiological processes, disease, and nutrition
  • Bones are continuously remodeled over the course of our lives – Wolff’s Law
  • Highly physical populations have optimal bone density while those with high inactivity (or astronauts) show decline in bone density
  • However, excess aerobic exercise or under/overweight in females can lead to irregularity or cessation in menstruation (decreased fertility)


What is Wolff's law?

Bones are continuously remodeled over the course of our lives


Summarize the basic premises of Anthropological approach to human variation

▪ We are all a product of an evolutionary history

▪Adaptive: natural selection
▪Non-adaptive: genetic drift, gene flow, mutation ▪

▪ We are all a product of our individual lifehistory

▪ Non-genetic/temporary: acclimatization
▪ Non-genetic/permanent: biological plasticity
▪ Genetic expression/intergenerational: epigenetics

▪ All of these are BIOCULTURAL


What was Sebastian Munsters contributions to biological anthropology?

Not in slides look in book


What was Conrads contributions to biological anthropology?

look in textbook


What was George Gliddon contribution to biological anthropology?

Look in texts


What was Lycosthenes/Wolffhart contribution to biological anthropology?

Look in text note in slides


What was Blumenbach's contribution to biological anthropology?

look in textbook did not see in slides


What was Johann Freidrich\s contribution to biological anthropology?

look in texts


What was Theodosius Dobzhansky contribution to biological anthropology?

  • Introduce the modern or new synthesis in the 1920/30s
  • integrates modern genetics and the theory of evolution
  • Key differences from Darwin’s original model
    •  Definition of evolution: a change in allele frequency from one generation to the next
    •  Understanding the causes of evolution


What was Frans Boaz contribution to biological anthropology?

don't see in slides


What was Ashley Montagu contribution to biological anthropology?

don't see in slides