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Intro to Anthropology Midterm study guide

The exploration of human diversity in time and space.

The 4 subdisciplines of general anthropology
cultural, archeaological, biological, linguistic

The study of past cultures & interpretation of material culture

Applied Anthropology
Applying anthropological knowledge to solving practical, real-world problems

Biological & Physical Anthropology
The study of humans as biological organisms

Cultural Anthropology
The study of living human cultures that often includes fieldwork

Linguistic Anthropology
The study of the structures of human language

The firsthand, personal study of local settings.

the comparative, generalizing aspect of cultural anthropology.

the basic physical unit of heredity in DNA that leads to the expression of hereditary character.

cell division in which the nucleus divides into nuclei containing the same number of chromosomes

(genetics) cell division that produces reproductive cells in sexually reproducing organisms

a threadlike body in the cell nucleus that carries the genes in a linear order

having identical alleles at corresponding chromosomal loci

having dissimilar alleles at corresponding chromosomal loci

dominant allele
an allele whose trait always shows up in the organism when the allele is present

recessive allele
an allele that is masked when a dominant allele is present

An organism’s evident traits, or physical appearance

the particular alleles at specified loci present in an organism

(genetics) any event that changes genetic structure

genetic drift
The gradual changes in gene frequencies in a population due to random events

gene flow
The transmission of genetic material between populations

four forces of evolution
Mutation, Gene Flow , Genetic Drift, Natural Selection

natural selection
a natural process resulting in the evolution of organisms best adapted to the environment

The processes by which organisms cope with environmental forces and stresses

Biological Anthropology
Study of humans as biological organisms

Cultural anthropology
The study of human culture

adaptive radiation
Many species emerging from one or few ancient ones

Directional selection
Natural selection that drives evolutionary change by selecting for a greater or lesser frequency of a given trait in a population

Stabilizing selection
Selection that maintains a certain phenotype by selecting against deviations from it

sexual dimorphism
Difference is size, shape, or color between the sexes

Similarity of traits resulting from shared ancestry

Having similar traits due to similar use, not due to shared ancestry

Convergent evolution
similar form or function brought about by natural selection under similar environments rather than shared ancestry

population genetics
the study of genetic variation within and between groups of organisms

The distribution of a trait or allele across geographic space

An evolutionary tree indicating relatedness and divergence of taxonomic groups

A dark pigment produced by the melanocytes of the epidermis, which is the most important component of skin color

Member of the primate suborder Prosimii that includes the lemurs, lorises, galagos and tarsiers

Members of the primate suborder Anthropoidea that includes the monkeys, apes and hominins

Active during the day

Member of our own human family, past or present

Mode of arm-hanging and arm-swinging that uses a rotating shoulder to suspend the body of an ape or hominin beneath a branch or to travel between branches

Studying a culture both by participating and observing the actions and statements of its members.

Characteristics of Culture
Learned, shared, symbolic, all-encompassing, and integrated

Objects shaped by humans (intentionally or incidentally) that make their culture material and reflect their ideas or needs

The belief that one’s own culture’s way of doing something is right, natural, or universal

Cultural Relativism
The idea that we must understand others’ cultural practices on their own terms. The natives know what they’re doing.

Perspective held my members of a cultural group

Perspective held by outsiders through their own ideas and concerns

A system for the communication, in symbols, of any kind of information

A sound, gesture, or object which a particular culture has associated with a particular meaning. Stop signs.

Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
Language shapes what you are able to think

A variant form of a language that reflects a particular region or class yet is similar enough to be mutually intelligible

A simplified language, often a hybrid of two languages, used for communication between two groups (ruling and ruled)

A pidgin language which has fully developed after being learned as a first language by children of pidgin speakers

Focal Vocabulary
A set of words and distinctions that are particularly important to certain groups such as Eskimos or skiers

Hunting wild animals and gathering wild plant food as a way of life. Characterized by no farming, high mobility, small groups, few possessions, food sharing

The process whereby humans modify the genetic makeup of a plant or animal population to make them better suited to human use

A form of subsistence based on caring for herds of domesticated animals before eating them

Groups who travel with animals on a seasonal pattern and get all other food by trade

Part of the group travels with the animals and others stay in settled villages growing crops

the practice of cultivating the land or raising stock

Mode of Production
A set of social relations through which labor is deployed to wrest energy from nature by means of tools, skills, organizations, and knowledge

Capitalist Economy
Money buys labor power and a social gap forms between the people involved in the production process

Market Principle
Means of production (land, labor, resources, technology, and capital) are bought and sold using money to maximize profit. Value is determined by supply and demand

Operates when goods, services, or their equivalent move from the local level to a center (chief) who manages the surplus

Generalized Reciprocity
Someone gives to another person and expects nothing concrete or immediate in return

Balanced Reciprocity
Exchanges between people who are more distantly related where the giver expects something in return

Negative Reciprocity
Exchanges in which someone attempts to get something for as little as possible

Sponsors traditionally give away food, blankets, pieces of copper, or other items in return for prestige

A type of political organization that is autonomous at the local level; bands are kin-based and egalitarian

composed of a number of bands

a type of political organization that is regional, kin-based and hierarchical

a type of political organization that is regionalized, bureaucratic, and hierarchical

The study of hominid evolution and human life as revealed by the fossil record

humans and other creatures that walk upright

Any of several extinct human like primates that lived from about 4 million years ago to 750,000 years ago. The name means “southern ape”, which refers to the area in Africa where they were primarily found. Skull evidence suggests largely vegetarian

Paleolithic age
Second part of the Stone Age beginning about 750,00 to 500,000 years BC and lasting until the end of the last ice age about 8,500 years BC

Opposable thumb
Thumbs that enables grasping objects and using tools

Homo habilis
Extinct species of upright east African hominid having some advanced humanlike characteristics

Homo Erectus
Extinct species of primitive hominid with upright stature but small brains

Extinct robust human of Middle Paleolithic in Europe and western Asia

Racial classification
The attempt to assign humans to discrete categories supposedly based on common ancestry

Explanatory Explanations of “race”
Natural selection in particular environments led to variation in the amount of melanin in the skin cells, changes skin color

Anthropological interest in Primatology
The study of the cultural and behavioral traits that primates share with humans

Archeological Methodology
Two primary methods are systematic surveys and excavation

Principle of superposition
In an undisturbed sequence of strata, the oldest layer is on the bottom

Determining the age of undisturbed soil strata according to the depth and order of their deposition

The classification of organisms based on their relationships and resemblances

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