Intro to Anthropology Midterm study guide

Anthropology
The exploration of human diversity in time and space.

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

Archaeology
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

Ethnography
The firsthand, personal study of local settings.

Ethnology
the comparative, generalizing aspect of cultural anthropology.

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

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

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

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

homozygous
having identical alleles at corresponding chromosomal loci

heterozygous
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

phenotype
An organism’s evident traits, or physical appearance

genotype
the particular alleles at specified loci present in an organism

mutation
(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

adaptation
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

homology
Similarity of traits resulting from shared ancestry

analogous
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

Cline
The distribution of a trait or allele across geographic space

Phylogeny
An evolutionary tree indicating relatedness and divergence of taxonomic groups

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

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

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

Dirunal
Active during the day

Hominin
Member of our own human family, past or present

Brachiation
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

Participant-Observation
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

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

Ethnocentrism
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.

Emic
Perspective held my members of a cultural group

Etic
Perspective held by outsiders through their own ideas and concerns

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

Symbol
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

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

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

Creole
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

Hunter-Gatherers
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

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

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

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

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

Agriculture
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

Redistribution
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

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

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

Tribe
composed of a number of bands

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

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

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

Hominids
humans and other creatures that walk upright

Australopithecines
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

Neanderthal
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

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

taxonomy
The classification of organisms based on their relationships and resemblances