By John Relethford
This article introduces actual anthropology, the technology of human organic evolution and edition. Divided into 4 elements, it addresses the main questions that predicament organic anthropologists--"What are humans?" "Where are our origins?" "How did we evolve, and are we nonetheless evolving?" and "What does the longer term carry for the human species?--with an emphasis on speculation trying out and the connection among biology and tradition.
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Additional resources for The Human Species: An Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Developments in medicine and medical care change the death rate. The entire process of population growth, and its biological and cultural implications, is considerably more complicated than described here. The basic point, however, should be clear: By studying the process of population growth, we can see how cultural factors affect biological factors, and vice versa. The biocultural perspective of anthropology points to one of the unique strengths of anthropology as a science: It is holistic, meaning that it takes into consideration all aspects of human existence.
For example, specific predictions about the fossil record can be made based on our knowledge of evolution. One such prediction is that humans evolved after the first appearance of mammals. Because we have found no such evidence, we cannot reject the hypothesis. Suppose someone tells you that all the people on the earth were created five minutes ago, complete with memories! Any evidence you muster against this idea could be explained away. Therefore, this hypothesis is not scientific because there is no possible way to reject it.
Even though anthropology has a wide scope and appears to encompass anything and everything pertaining to humans, the study of anthropology in North America is often characterized by four separate subfields, each with a specific focus. These four subfields are cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. Cultural Anthropology deals primarily with variations in the cultures of populations in the present or recent past. Its subjects include social, political, economic, and ideological aspects of human cultures.