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But with blending inheritance, genetic variance would be rapidly lost, making evolution by natural selection implausible. The Hardy—Weinberg principle provides the solution to how variation is maintained in a population with Mendelian inheritance. The frequencies of alleles variations in a gene will remain constant in the absence of selection, mutation, migration and genetic drift. Despite the constant introduction of new variation through mutation and gene flow, most of the genome of a species is identical in all individuals of that species.
When mutations occur, they may alter the product of a gene , or prevent the gene from functioning, or have no effect. This process is easier once a gene has been duplicated because it increases the redundancy of the system; one gene in the pair can acquire a new function while the other copy continues to perform its original function. In contrast, the offspring of sexual organisms contain random mixtures of their parents' chromosomes that are produced through independent assortment.
In a related process called homologous recombination , sexual organisms exchange DNA between two matching chromosomes. If each individual were to contribute to the same number of offspring two , a the sexual population remains the same size each generation, where the b Asexual reproduction population doubles in size each generation. The two-fold cost of sex was first described by John Maynard Smith. This cost does not apply to hermaphroditic species, like most plants and many invertebrates.
The Red Queen hypothesis has been used to explain the significance of sexual reproduction as a means to enable continual evolution and adaptation in response to coevolution with other species in an ever-changing environment.
Gene flow can be caused by the movement of individuals between separate populations of organisms, as might be caused by the movement of mice between inland and coastal populations, or the movement of pollen between heavy-metal-tolerant and heavy-metal-sensitive populations of grasses. Gene transfer between species includes the formation of hybrid organisms and horizontal gene transfer.
Horizontal gene transfer is the transfer of genetic material from one organism to another organism that is not its offspring; this is most common among bacteria. It is possible that eukaryotes themselves originated from horizontal gene transfers between bacteria and archaea. From a neo-Darwinian perspective, evolution occurs when there are changes in the frequencies of alleles within a population of interbreeding organisms,  for example, the allele for black colour in a population of moths becoming more common.
Mechanisms that can lead to changes in allele frequencies include natural selection, genetic drift, genetic hitchhiking, mutation and gene flow. Natural selection Further information: Sexual selection Evolution by means of natural selection is the process by which traits that enhance survival and reproduction become more common in successive generations of a population.
It has often been called a "self-evident" mechanism because it necessarily follows from three simple facts:  Variation exists within populations of organisms with respect to morphology, physiology, and behaviour phenotypic variation. Different traits confer different rates of survival and reproduction differential fitness. These traits can be passed from generation to generation heritability of fitness.
More offspring are produced than can possibly survive, and these conditions produce competition between organisms for survival and reproduction. Consequently, organisms with traits that give them an advantage over their competitors are more likely to pass on their traits to the next generation than those with traits that do not confer an advantage. The central concept of natural selection is the evolutionary fitness of an organism. These traits are said to be "selected for.
Conversely, the lower fitness caused by having a less beneficial or deleterious allele results in this allele becoming rarer—they are "selected against.
This is an ambitious goal. You may be wondering why anyone would care about early hominin footprints and how they can possibly be relevant to your life.
To anyone born after that date. We want to know how an insignificant but clever bipedal primate such as Australopithecus afarensis. Maybe you wondered if they also shared your thoughts and feelings.
At the other level. When these topics are considered within the broader context of human evolution. These are some of the many questions that physical anthropologists attempt to answer through the study of human evolution. Genetic mechanisms are the foundation for evolutionary change. Evolution at this level is referred to as microevolution. Adaptations result from evolutionary change specifically. Culture is an extremely important concept. On hearing the term evolution. Quite simply.
Culture includes technologies ranging from stone tools to computers. These issues. As tropical animals. Change at this level is called macroevolution. As biological organisms. Over time. The term is also sometimes used to refer to the appearance of a new species.
How did we adjust to different environmental conditions as we dispersed? How could our species. Evolution as it occurs at both these levels will be addressed in this book. Simply stated. Culture is a set of learned behaviors transmitted from one generation to the next by nonbiological that is. Traditional and recent technology. It originated in southern Iraq some 5. This artifact represents one of the oldest types of stone tools found anywhere. Currently more than billion text messages are sent every day worldwide.
Peace Dale. Disease-causing organisms travel with their human hosts. At the same time. For example. Biocultural interactions have resulted in many anatomical. But human biology. Air pollution and exposure to dangerous chemicals have increased the prevalence of respiratory disease and cancer.
Anthropological research in this one area alone is enormously important to biomedical studies. So how does biological anthropology differ from human biology? And while air travel has made it possible for people to travel thousands of miles in just a few hours.
Most nonhuman animals. Such responses may or may not be deliberate. Culture is learned. The response of an individual. This is especially true of the great apes gorillas. For this reason. After the domestication of nonhuman animals. Human activities have changed the patterns of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria.
So when biological research includes these topics as well as the role of culture in shaping our species. As you can see. But during the course of human evolution. One area of interest is how different groups view disease processes and how these views affect treatment or the willingness to accept treatment.
Ethnographic accounts. Each of these is divided into several specialized areas of interest. In the United States. Many anthropology majors are forced to contemplate this question when their friends or parents ask. The origins of cultural anthropology can be traced to the nineteenth century. These studies produced many descriptive ethnographies that covered a range of topics. By examining the similarities and differences among cultures. Cultural anthropologists still work in remote areas.
In addition. In cultural anthropology. This kind of anthropology is called applied anthropology. Each of the subdisciplines emphasizes different facets of humanity. When a medical anthropologist focuses on the social dimensions of disease. Many contemporary cultural anthropologists are concerned with the welfare of refugees and study their resettlement and cultural integration or lack thereof in the United States.
Medical anthropology is an applied subfield of cultural anthropology that explores the relationship between various cultural attributes and health and disease. This four-field approach concerns all aspects of humanity across space and time. The focus of cultural anthropology shifted over the course of the twentieth century. Since insights into the process may well have implications for the development of language skills in human evolution.
Because the spontaneous acquisition and use of language is a uniquely human characteristic. Linguistic Anthropology Linguistic anthropology is the study of human speech and language.
Many contract archaeologists so called because their services are contracted out to developers or contractors are affiliated with private consulting firms. Although archaeology often concerns cultures that existed before the invention of writing the period known as prehistory. Unlike in the past. Archaeologists are concerned with culture. Archaeological research may focus on specific localities or peoples and attempt to identify. Canada and many European countries have similar legislation.
The remains of earlier societies. This is an applied approach that arose from environmental legislation requiring archaeological evaluations and sometimes excavation of sites that may be threatened by development. By examining similarities between contemporary languages. The earliest artifacts tend to be tools made of stone or.
Physical anthropology is the original term. This shift occurred largely because of advances in the field of genetics and molecular biology since the late s. Only then will we have a clear picture of how and when humankind came into being.
The origins of physical anthropology can be found in two principal areas of interest among nineteenth-century European and American scholars. The American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Human variation was the other major area of interest for early biological anthropologists. Thousands of specimens of human ancestors mostly fragmentary are now kept in research collections. They were especially concerned with observable physical differences.
Other traits may simply be the results of geographical isolation or the descent of populations from small founding groups. When osteologists measure skeletal elements. Enormous effort was aimed at describing and explaining the biological differences between various human populations. They were beginning to doubt the literal interpretation of the biblical account of creation at a time when scientific explanations emphasizing natural processes rather than supernatural phenomena were becoming more popular.
This subdiscipline is also referred to as biological anthropolb ogy. Physical anthropologists also use many of the techniques of anthropometry to study skeletal remains from archaeological sites Fig. Modern population studies also examine other important aspects of human variation. In other words. Taken together. Although some attempts were misguided and even racist.
Examining biological variation between populations of any species provides valuable information as to the mechanisms of genetic change in groups over time. Many scientists at the time called natural historians or naturalists became increasingly curious about the origins of modern species. In the background is a reconstruction of this enormous animal. Gigantopithecus is the name given to the largest apes that ever lived.
South Africa. It would be impossible to study evolutionary processes without some knowledge of how traits are inherited. Many biological anthropologists conduct nutritional studies.
Investigations of human fertility. Data derived from various body measurements. These fields of inquiry. DNA is a main component of chromosomes. Such stresses may include high altitude. In this exciting time of rapid advances in genetic research.
Kathleen Galvin measures upper arm circumference in a young Maasai boy in Tanzania. For this reason and others. To do this. In turn.
Many osteologists specialize in the measurement of skeletal elements. Bone biology and physiology are of major importance to many other aspects of physical anthropology besides human evolution. Paleopathology is a prominent subfield that investigates the prevalence of trauma. Human osteology focuses on the interpretation of the skeletal remains from archaeological sites.
As genetic technologies continue to be developed. In the last 30 years or so. This burial is part of a mass grave. And many participated in the overwhelming task of trying to identify the remains of victims of the September The curves are due to developmental defects in individual vertebrae. Anatomy is yet another important area of interest for physical anthropologists. Forensic anthropologists help identify skeletal remains in mass disasters or other situations where a human body has been found.
Forensic anthropology is directly related to osteology and paleopathology and has become of increasing interest to the public because of TV shows like Bones. They were also instrumental in identifying the skeletons of most of the Russian imperial family.
The estimated age at death is 6 years. This is not the most common form of scoliosis. These remains are approximately 1. In living organisms. Forensic anthropologists work with coroners and others in identifying and analyzing human remains. Paleopathology also yields information regarding the history of certain disease processes.
This is particularly true today because the majority of primate species are threatened or seriously endangered. For these reasons and others. 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. Such relationships are important in accurately assessing the structure and function of limbs and other components of fossilized remains.
Because nonhuman primates are our closest living relatives. Julie Lesnik that surround and act on them. Behavioral studies. And while applied anthropology is aimed at the practical application of anthropological theories and methods outside the academic setting.
Within biological anthropology. Soo Young Chin. Since then. During World War II. Vaccinations were being administered to Angolan refugees returning home in from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This body of information then becomes the basis of future studies. Physical Anthropology and the Scientific Method Science is an empirical approach to gaining information. Hypothesis testing is the very core of the scientific method.
When data are quantified. The next step is to develop a research design or methodology aimed at testing the hypothesis.
Because biological anthropologists are scientists. Based on this preliminary research and other observations. As such. Once a question has been asked. This precision is critical because it enables others to repeat the experiments and allows scientists to make comparisons between their study and the work of others. These methods involve collecting information or data that can then be studied and analyzed.
During the data collection and analysis phase. Data can be analyzed in many ways. Depending on the criteria used. Humans are a product of the same forces that produced all life on earth. It involves observing phenomena. At its very heart.
The development of critical thinking skills is an important and lasting benefit of a college education. Perhaps the most glaring need for critical thinking is in how we evaluate advertising claims.
Another current scientific debate focuses on how to interpret the remarkable small hominins found in Indonesia. One hypothesis has been that these males were killing infants fathered by other males. Theories usually concern a broader. As new methods and more intense analyses of the remains continue. The explanation for this fact is the theory of gravity. Many scientists have objected to this hypothesis.
So far. This study is described in more detail in Chapter 7. For one thing. A second hypothesis suggests that the remains are those of modern humans with a pathological growth defect. Such skills enable people to evaluate. DNA testing in ways that constantly expand our knowledge. But like hypotheses. Each species is unique. The vast majority of the foods people eat today coming from domesticated plants and animals were unavailable until around Cultural relativism is the view that cultures have merits within their own historical and environmental contexts.
Besides the obviously different diets prior to the development of agriculture.
This relativistic view of culture is perhaps more important now than ever before. By recognizing that we share many similarities both biological and behavioral with other animals. To understand human beings and how our species came to be. These adaptive complexes go back millions of years. Physical anthropologists. All branches of anthropology fundamentally seek to do this in what we call the anthropological perspective.
In this way. In addition to broadening perspectives over space that is. Be skeptical. To answer these questions. So when a salesperson tells you that. When nutrients are broken down into their component parts. From a perspective that is broad in space and time. We hope that after reading the following pages. An example is seen in AIDS prevention research. We are members of the one species that. The wealth of knowledge that biologists and medical researchers have provided on the characteristics and behavior of HIV the virus that causes AIDS is useless for preventing its transmission unless we also have an understanding of human behavior at both the individual and the sociocultural levels.
Why It Matters T oday. This is acutely felt in medicine.
Whether or not you choose a career in anthropology. In such a time. Behavioral scientists. We believe that the study of physical anthropology is one endeavor that aids in this attempt. Anthropology is one of the few disciplines that encourages a broad view of the human condition.
Do you see a connection between hominin footprints that are almost 4 million years old and human footprints left on the moon in ?
If so. We presented the importance of objectivity. In the next chapter. Because evolution is the core of physical anthropology. Because biological anthropology is a scientific discipline. These topics are discussed within an evolutionary framework because all human characteristics are either directly or indirectly the results of biological evolution. Why or why not? As a major academic discipline within the social sciences. Is it important to you. What does the fact that there are human footprints on the moon say about human adaptation?
You may wish to refer to both biological and cultural adaptation. Physical anthropology is the study of many aspects of human biology. The U. These sites of such enormous human tragedy sadly are found in many parts of the world. They are often called to join recovery teams at scenes of mass disasters such as the World Trade Center.
Forensic anthropologists also help search for and identify soldiers missing in action from prior wars. In all these difficult circumstances. Heather Thew. A forensic anthropologist works in Vietnam in as part of a military team. Army Corps of Engineers. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Goode U. Some of this evidence was used in the trial of Saddam Hussein and helped lead to his conviction.