Review Questions - Anthropology Exam 2
Human Variation and Adaptation (Chp 5)
Discovering the Past with Archaeology (Chp 6 & Module 2)
The Rise of Domestication and Civilization (Chp 7)
Cultural Anthropology (Chp 8)
Chapter 5: Human Adaptation and Variation
a. Over time, biological and cultural means of adaptation have become increasingly important for human groups.
Adaptation is the process by which organisms cope with nature’s stress.
Adaptation explains variation.
b. Three types of human adaptation exist:
i. Genetic change (intergenerational biological change, as with mutation or genetic drift)
ii. Acclimatization (biological change, as with immune resistance to disease, within the life span)
iii. Cultural change (non-biological change, as with science, tools, weapons and other technology)
2. Aspects of Bio-Cultural Variation:
a. Body Build
i. Related to environmental temperature (climate)
ii. Bergmann's rule:
Hot climate, low body weight vs.
Cold climate, high body weight
iii. Allen's rule: extension of limbs
Hot climate, longer limbs
Cold climate, shorter limbs
b. Facial Construction
i. Related to climatic humidity
- Long, narrow noses are common to humans living in colder, less humid climates.
- Flat, broad noses are common to humans living in hotter,
more humid climates
i. Related to climate (but not directly: see Bergmann’s/Allen’s rules).
ii. Cultural differences: social class can influence height (due to nutritional factors)
iii. Infant Stress? (ex: circumcision,
branding, piercing, molding, vaccination)
d. Health and Disease
i. Infectious diseases
- Myxomatosis in rabbits
- Tuberculosis and Jews
- Measles and
Genetic Homogeniety increases susceptibility
ii. Sickle cell anemia
- HbS/HbA heterozygous
individuals are less susceptible to malaria infection
iii. Lactase deficiency
- Lactase 1 enzyme is related to Vit.D processing; both absorb calcium into the body; Less sun=More need for lactase 1.
iv. Types of Natural Selection
a. Stabilizing selection (ex: human birth weight)
b. Directional (positive) selection (ex: greyhound dog breed)
c. Disruptive (negative) selection (ex: fish size regulations)
d. Balanced Selection (sickle-cell anemia)
e. Artificial Selection: man's influence on genetic selection (breeding, transgenics, etc.)
e. Skin Color
i. Gloger's Rule: in birds and mammals, more melanin (pigment found in skin, feathers, or fur) exists in populations found in warmer climates.
ii. In humans, skin color is a function of the amount of melanin found in epidermal cells and by the amount of blood flow to the capillaries in the skin.
iii. Skin color may be a response to sunlight: Darker color avoids too much ultraviolet radiation, whereas light color ensures enough Vitamin D absorption.
Web: ~ Where does skin color come from?
~ On skin pigmentation
3. Race and Anthropology
a. "Race” is typically defined by the biological differences that exist between individuals that are made socially significant.
b. Ethnicity is typically defined by the cultural differences that exist between individuals that are made socially significant.
c. Race is categorical - it is an attempt to make some order out of the reality of biological difference.
d. Obvious differences in biology - skin color, facial structure, etc. - separate people from one another because they are obvious. But less obvious differences in biology - sickle-cells, e.g. - are not seen as indicators of race.
Eric Liu: “What maketh
a race is not God, but man. What maketh a race is only the sin
d. Definitions of Race and Ethnicity
Common biological traits deemed “socially significant” – they are genetically inherited.
Racial types that were once deemed significant (but are no longer accepted by most anthropologists):
– Caucasian: light skin, fine hair
– Negroid: darker skin, coarse hair
– Mongoloid: brown skin, distinctive eyes
The Reality: There are so
many different combinations of racial traits around the world that no simple
scheme of three major racial types can do justice to them.
Common cultural traits deemed socially significant – they are culturally inherited.
For example, common ancestry, language, religion, holidays, food, etc.
e. Contemporary Definitions of Race
i. Today, race is seen differently by anthropologists compared to the past.
Race, as we use the term in the veryday, is conceived of now as more of a socially constructed category, than an explicit representation of genetic heritage.
Discovering the Past with Archaeology (Chapter 6, Module 2)
1. Archaelogical Methodsa. Types of Evidence
b. Finding the Evidence
i. Finding Sites
ii. Stratification and Taphonomy
iii. Methods of discovery: Pedestrian survey; Remote Sensing techniques (ground penetrating radar, 3D laser scans)
c. Analyzing the Evidence
i. Conservation and Restoration (e.g. the Mayan temple at Yaxuna)
1. Formal measurement
2. Metric measurement
d. Dating the evidencei. Relative (contextual)
2. F-U-N trio
ii. Absolute (chronometric) methods:
3.Thermoluminescence/Electron Spin (100kya)
4.Radiometric dating, principle of "half-life"
a. Radiocarbon: N-14 --> C-14 --> N-14 (50-80kya)
b. Potassium-Argon (1000kya)
c. Uranium-Thorium and Uranium-Lead (500kya / 4.5bya)
The Rise of Domestication and Civilization (Chapter 7)
The Neolithic (Agricultural) Revolution: Food Production vs. Food Collection (Foraging/Hunting/ Gathering)
1. Domestication of Plants and Animals
a. In the Epi-paleolithic period of 12-15kya, ceramic pottery and early settlement was developed, particularly in the Near East (Mesopotamia).
- Shortly thereafter came one of the most important revolutions in human history, the agricultural revolution, also known as the Neolithic revolution.
b. Food production technology (domestication) developed between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago after millions of years when hunting and gathering (or food collection) was the sole basis for human subsistence
i. Sedentarism: living in permanent villages; domestication made this possible.
ii. Broad-spectrum collecting: the change from hunting big-game to relying on a wider variety of food sources.
c. The first animals to be tamed were dogs.
Dogs were domesticated
about 12,000 years B.P. (before present) in the Near East. Wolves
are the direct ancestors of all dog breeds in existence today. The DNA makeup
of wolves and dogs is almost identical.
early domesticated animals include:
- Sheep and Goats (9k BP, Near East)
- Cattle and pigs (8k BP, Near East)
- Horses (6k BP, Central Asia/N. Africa)
- Cats and Camels (5k BP, Near East / Arabia, Asia)
- Chicken (4k BP, S. Asia)
(see Figure 8-1, p. 136 text)
Traits suitable for domestication were: docility, non-territoriality, hierarchical (humans co-opt leadership role), uninhibited breeding, fast growth
MesoAmerican domestication: Semi-nomadism (non-sedentary life) continued long after domestication. Why?
Domesticated items included desirable items, but were not necessary for survival:
- Bottle Gourds (used for carrying water)
- Maize (corn)
d. Why did domestication occur around the world at roughly the same time?
i. Climate Change (wild resources were less available) (Childe)
ii. Cultural Evolution (the idea of domestication was ripe) (Braidwood)
iii. Population Pressure (desired food availability reduced by competition) (Binford-Flannery)
e. Consequences of domestication
i. Population growth A sharp increase in population occurred when agriculture developed.
ii. Decline in health Tooth enamel and bone infusions show that domestication did not improve health – human stature (size) also decreased
iii. Artificial selection (Dogs, Heiki crabs, corn are examples)
By 8,000 BCE (before common era, or BC), sedentarism led to the first towns and villages
a. ~ 6000 BCE: the origins of communities and towns
i.Evidence of political organization and status is apparent in houses were different sizes, economies emerged, and chiefdoms (separate communities organized by political authority) developed.
ii. The true end of the stone age: Copper smelting (metallurgy) became common in the Near East (Anatolia), though it took time to perfect; Bronze Age = 3500BC - 1100BC
b. ~ 3500 BCE: the rise of cities and civilization
“Civilization” is a term meaning,
i. Urban development was underway
the oldest city in India (7500 BCE)?
or the Middle East (8,000 BCE)?
(it depends on how you define city)
- Catalhoyuk (Turkey)
- Uruk / Babylon (Iraq) (2003 war destroys arch. evidence)
- Mohenjo-Daro (India)
early cities were connected by trade
routes and political alignments, city-states emerged.
c. City-State development
~ 3500 BCE, city-state development occurred
A city-state is a self-governing community consisting of an independent
city and its surrounding territory.
i. Old World Civilizations (developed around 3500 BCE)
Year ---- Region ---- City-State
3500 BCE - Mesopotamia - Uruk
3000 BCE - Mesopotamia - Sumeria
2700 BCE - Egypt - Old Kingdom
2300 BCE - India - Harappa
1600 BCE - China - Shang Dynasty
ii. New World Civilizations (developed after 1000 BCE)
Year ---- Region ---- City-State
800 BCE - Mexico - Monte Alban
200 BCE - N. America - Hopewell Mounds
200 BCE - S. America - Peru city-states
200 AD - Mexico - Teotihuacan empire
700 AD - Mexico - Mayan city-states
700 AD - Peru - Wari empire
iii. The civilizations of sub-Saharan Africa began developing around 100 AD
Year ------ Region ----- City-State
100-940 AD - East Africa - Aksum
750-1100 AD - West Africa - Ghana
800-1550 AD - West Africa - Mali (CrashCourse)
1100-1900 AD - West Africa - Songhai
1300-1900 AD - South-Central Africa - Bantu
1440-1900 AD - West Africa - Benin (4:47 - 9:07)
1137-1975 AD - East Africa - Ethiopia
d. Why did city-states form?
i. Irrigation (labor and management led to political systems)
ii. Population Growth and War (resource competition led to incursions and the need for protection)
iii. Trade (local and long-distance)
Note: No one factor explains the rise of city states.
e. Civilizations have a cyclical nature
Without exception, all great civilizations of the past have fallen due to political, economic or environmental collapse, and been replaced by new orders.
1. What is culture?
Culture is learned, shared, ideas, behavior, and action
a. Culture is defined by Symbols & Language
Symbols are elements of meaning shared by a culture.
b. Culture develops as a result of our natural human ability to imitate.
Q: Where does our ability to imitate and learn come from? A: It evolved. “Mirror Neurons”
c. Artifacts are the wide range of material human creations. These artifacts always reflect underlying cultural values.
i. The tension between material and non-material culture is realized in the balance between form (design) and function (usefulness) of an artifact.
d. Is culture unique to humans? No!
Chimps use tools!
Great Ape Culture Finding Narrows Divide Between Humans
Ancient chimps 'used stone tools'
e. Cultural Change: Invention, Diffusion and Acculturation
i. Invention can be accidental (unconscious) or deliberate Discovery and innovation are part of the inventive process.
ii. Diffusion happens when cultural elements move from one culture to another
iii. Acculturation is like diffusion, but cultural power is the force that creates adoption
2. Studying Culture
a. Holistic Perspective
Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
Holism provides for the most complete understanding of the social relationships between and within cultures.
To be holistic is to be both inclusive and diverse in one’s viewpoint on culture and biology.
b. Awareness of Ethnocentric Bias
Ethnocentric (adj.): to characterize by or base one’s viewpoint on the attitude that one's own group is superior.
Why do human groups tend to be ethnocentric?
The cultural trait comes from two sources:
1) Cultural diversity occurred after the rise of civilization
2) Socio-psychological needs: the perceived need for protection of cultural practices.
Cultural Relativism: the idea that cultures are unique from one another.
Ethnography is the firsthand personal study of a local cultural setting.
“Ethnographers try to understand the whole of a particular culture, not just fragments (e.g., only the economy, family or politics).” (Spradley 2008)
i. In pursuit of this holistic goal, ethnographers usually spend an extended period of time living with the group they are studying and employ many different techniques to gather information.
(Watch: first contact with the Penan of Borneo)
(Watch: First Contact, Australian aborigines)
ii. Early ethnographers conducted research almost exclusively among small-scale, relatively isolated indigenous societies, with simple technologies, politics and economies.
The cultures of indigenous peoples are increasingly threatened by modernization. (Global Response)
d. Ethnographic Fieldwork involves the researcher taking part in the activities being observed.
Ethnographers are trained to be aware of and record details from daily events, the significance of which may not be apparent until much later. Field notes are the traditional means of recording experiences.
i. Achieving Realism: The writer’s goal was to produce an accurate, objective, scientific account of the study community.
ii. Comparing Differences: The writer’s goal was to compare differences between culture in a non-biased way.
iii. Pros, Cons and Dangers
- Access the culture
- Determine actual behavior
- Develop rapport
e. Three Generations of “Fieldworkers”
i. Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) is generally considered the "father of ethnography". He did “salvage ethnography,” recording cultural diversity that was threatened by westernization. Trobriand Magic was one of his more well read ethnographies.
ii. Margaret Mead (1901-1978) - Popularized the insights of fieldwork with a book titled Coming of Age in Samoa about culture and sexuality the peoples of the South Pacific islands.
iii. Napoleon Chagnon (living) - Famous for his exposing the Yąnomamö natives of the Amazon rainforest in Venezuela to the modern world. Controversy has recently emerged.