Chapter Study Outline

1. What Is Anthropology?

a. Anthropology is the study of humankind

i. Viewed from perspective of all peoples and all times

b. Four Subfields

i. Cultural anthropology

(1) Studies present-day people

(2) Culture defined as transmitted, learned behavior

ii. Archaeology

(1) Studies past human societies

(2) Focuses on material remains and the processes behind them

iii. Linguistic anthropology

(1) Studies the construction and use of language by human Societies

(2) Language defined as a set of written or spoken symbols that refer to things

iv. Physical or biological anthropology

(1) Studies all aspects of present and past human biology

(2) Deals with the evolution of and variation among human beings and their relatives.

v. No anthropologist is an expert in all four branches of anthropology.

(1) All anthropology acknowledges the diversity of humans in all contexts.

(2) Within the field there is a commitment to the notion that humans are both cultural and biological beings.

vi. Biocultural approach

(1) Humans are a result of a combination of inherited (biological) traits and cultural (learned) traits.

vii. Anthropology focuses on a broad, comparative (holistic) approach.

2. What Is Physical Anthropology?

a. The study of human biological evolution and human biocultural variation

b. Two key concepts:

i. Each person is a product of evolutionary history.

(1) Includes all biological changes that have brought humans to present form

ii. Each person is a product of an individual life history.

(1) Combination of genetics and environment (including social and cultural factors)

3. What Do Physical Anthropologists Do?

a. Physical anthropologists have different research foci.

i. Study of living people

ii. Study of other primates

iii. Study of past people and past societies

iv. Attempts to answer questions surrounding central tenet: What does it mean to be human?

v. Application of anthropology to societal issues or concerns

(1) Forensic anthropology

vi. Study of all aspects of human biology

vii. A biological science as well as a cultural science

(1) Biology is studied within the context of culture and biology.

viii. Interdisciplinary science

(1) Utilizes theories and methods from a wide variety of other


4. What Is So Different about Humans from Other Animals?:

The Six Steps to Humanness

a. Humans differ from other animals in several important ways.

i. Bipedalism

(1) Defined as walking on two feet

ii. Nonhoning chewing

(1) Loss of a large canine (as the other apes have)

iii. Complex material culture and tool use

(1) Humans depend completely on culture for day-to-day living and species survival.

(2) Other apes exhibit some forms of cultural behavior.

iv. Hunting

(1) Group pursuit of animals for food

v. Speech

(1) The only animal that communicates by talking

vi. Dependence on domesticated foods

(1) Development of ability to raise domesticated plants and animals

5. How We Know What We Know: The Scientific Method

a. Systematic observation of the world

b. Observations form the basis for the rest of the process.

i. Identifying problems, developing questions, and gathering evidence (data)

ii. Data are used to test hypotheses.

(1) Hypotheses explain, predict, and can be refuted.

c. This process is called the scientific method.

i. A way of knowing the world around us through observation

ii. Results in an ever-expanding knowledge base

iii. Empirical, or based on observation

d. Theory is developed through the process of the scientific method.

i. Theories are explanations of the way things work.

ii. Theories can be modified by new evidence.

e. If a theory proves absolutely true, it becomes scientific law.

i. Examples: gravity, thermodynamics, and motion