Essay: Evolution From Two Subfields

Pages: 3 (975 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Topic: Anthropology  ·  Buy This Paper

Evolution has been a topic of discussion among the scientific community for several decades but a new field has recently developed that concerns itself not only with evolution as it involves the adaptive selection of primates but also with biological adaptability as a human attribute. Physical anthropologists center their investigation and research on determining how human beings fit into nature and compare their behaviors with those of other primates (Jurmain, 2008). Physical anthropologists also study and interpret the differences between the various races found within the human species. In doing so, physical anthropologists coordinate their efforts through cooperative research with the fields of archeology, comparative anatomy, evolution, and genetics.

The increased use and reliability of DNA has altered the field of physical anthropology considerably in that it allowed for more accurate dating. Prior to the introduction of using DNA as a dating method, anthropologists used a method identified as relative dating (Kaestle, 2002). Relative dating proved valuable to anthropologist because it allowed for them to show the order that events occurred in evolution but it was unable to indicate with any fair degree of precision when a specific event occurred. DNA and other technologies developed in the twentieth century made it possible for absolute dating to take place so that rocks, fossils, and other objects could be accurately dated.

The primary goal of physical anthropologist is to research and investigate the systematic, non-cultural aspects of humans and other primates. Such anthropologists study the biological characteristics that are genetically inherited and not those that are learned through exposure to culture. By studying these genetically inherited characteristics physical anthropologists attempt to understand how humans and primates changed through time to become what they are today. The field of physical anthropology is divided into three specific areas of research: 1) human biology which is concerned with human diversity, genetic inheritance patterns, non-cultural adaptations to environmental stresses, and miscellaneous biological characteristics of humans; 2) primatologists who study the same factors in relation to non-human primates; and, 3) paleoanthropologists who study the fossil records of early humans and primates in regard to the course of evolution.

The broad nature of the field of physical anthropology makes it necessary that in order to do constructive and organized research and study one must often reference sources that have done some of the work for you. One such source is an internet site entitled as Discover Anthropology (Royal Anthropological Institute).The site provides a comprehensive resource for not only understanding the study of anthropology but also links to various sources for furthering one's research into specific areas of anthropology. The site is organized in such a manner as to provide a range of services for the student just beginning his or her studies in anthropology to the most advanced anthropology professional.

The nature of physical anthropology and archeology make them partners in the study of evolution (Fahlander, 2004). Although archeologists are more concerned with establishing a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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