There are three basic ways in which people have tried to classify people to real biological differences, instead of cultural differences, in the past. The first is the ‘typological model’. This model classifies people into geographical groups, on selected common characters. The second model is the ‘populational model, which classifies people on the basis of exclusive mating with each other, over a long period of time. The last model is the ‘clinical model’.
This model looks at the inherited characteristics of a group, which change over time and is different from the changes in other geographic areas; the distribution of these characteristics (Ellison & Goodman). All three models fail to do the job. The typological model is erroneous because of the fact that some racial characteristics are found in different groups. The populational model fails because of the fact that people do not limit their breeding to small areas.
The clinical model is undermined by the fact that some human groups migrate and the therefore discontinuity of the typical characteristic, and by the fact that there are not so many small communities left on the world anymore. Scientists now agree on this, they understand that classifying humans, based on any specific model, would be arbitrary. Scientists now just use the classifications as a tool to organize the data.
The number of racial groups that are ‘discovered’ depend on the number of characteristics researched. Therefore, all research methods are relative, and the classifications change when the sets of characteristics (or the research topic) change. Biological anthropology describes the nature of human variations through focusing on the biological aspects. This researches the human as biological organism, the behaviour of primates and the human evolution.
The most important research is done through research of the genetic patterns and the connections between different populations over the whole world. Anthropologists can also compare historic gene material with modern ones. All these techniques might contribute to a definitive evidence of our origin and the way people populated the earth. References Ellison,G. & A. H. Goodman. The Nature of Differences. Science, Society and Human Biology. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 2006.