Review Questions - Intro to Anthropology Final Exam


  • What is Anthropology?
  • Who is the academic "father" of anthropology, and what central quetion did he pose which led to the four fields of study?
  • What are the four fields of anthropology?
  • Can you describe each of the four fields in some detail?
  • How can anthropology be applied?
  • What does cultural relativism mean?

Field 1: Biological Anthropology:

Evolution and Genetics

  • Who proposed the ideas of evolutionary theory in its early years?
  • What are the principles of Descent With Modification, or Natural Selection?
  • What is the chief mechanism of evolutionary development?
  • What defines a species and how do new species develop (i.e., what are the four sources of genetic change and speciation)?

The Origins of Culture and Man

  • What makes human beings unique among all other animals?
  • What were the evolutionary stages of biological development of human beings (by genus and species)?
  • What happened to the Neanderthals?
  • What "toolkits" developed with the different human evolutionary developments?
  • In relationship to the lower and middle paleolithic cultures, what other early aspects of culture developed?

The Emergence of Homo sapiens (modern humans)

  • What is the single origin theory of Homo sapiens' development?
  • What is the replacement (multi-regional) theory of Homo sapiens' development?
  • What were the cultural advancements of upper paleolithic man?
  • When was the most recent ice age and how did it impact human development?
  • How did Homo sapiens migrate to the New World?
  • Who are the "Clovis people"?

Human Variation and Adaptation

  • What is adaptation and how is it related to human biological and cultural variation?
  • What is a possible explanation for variation in human facial structure?
  • What is the explanation for variation in human skin color?
  • In what ways are human health and disease connected to biological adaptation?
  • How are these physical variations culturally important?

Field 2: Archaeology

Discovering the Past with Archaeology

  • What are the four types of evidence sought by archaeologists?
  • What methods and tools do archaeologists use to find evidence of human cultures of the past?
  • What is geological stratification and how does it work?
  • What are the relative methods of dating archaeological evidence?
  • What are the absolute methods of dating archaeological evidence?


The Rise of Domestication and Civilization

  • What is the difference between food production and food collection?
  • What is the "Neolithic Revolution" and what factors led to its occurence?
  • When was the origin of the first towns
  • and villages?
  • What were the first cities and city-state civilizations to emerge? Where did they emerge?
  • Why did city-states develop?
  • What is the pattern of civilizational development (in terms of rising and falling)?


Fields 3 & 4: Linguistics and Ethnology


Cultural Anthropology

  • What defines a human "culture"?
  • Do animals other than humans have culture? What makes human culture unique?
  • What are the traits of cultural invention, diffusion and acculturation?
  • How is language central to the existence of culture?
  • What is a meme? Give an example.

Anthropological Linguistics

  • What are the four branches of linguistic study (found in the dictionary definition of language)?
  • To which branch of linguistics is the study of language families related?
  • When did written language develop?
  • What is the Sapr-Whorf hypothesis?
  • To which branch of linguistics is the study of mythology related?
  • What are the functions of mythology in a society?

Economic Distribution Systems

  • What are the three types of economic distribution systems?
  • What are the different varieties of reciprocity (give examples)?
  • What are redistribution systems (give examples)?
  • What is a market (retail) system (give examples)?
  • What are the social class effects of each type of distribution system?

Social Stratification

  • What is social stratification and how is it measured?
  • What is a rank hierarchy?
  • What is egalitarianism?
  • What are other types of political structures?
  • What is the relationship of ownership to social stratification?
  • What is the impact of the modern West on indigenous societies?