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Anthropology. Evolution - Assignment Example

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There are four subfields of anthropology that include cultural, biological, linguistic and archeological anthropology (Harris, 1997). While discussing any anthropological area, it is important to note that culture acts as the gist of all human activities…
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Anthropology. Evolution
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Anthropology. Evolution

Download file to see previous pages... The holistic foundation provided by it and distinct characteristics of every culture makes it distinguishing criteria and allow other fields of anthropology to revolve around it. A critical analysis of all these subfields helps in understanding that these areas provide an individual account of human history belonging to same era. Where cultural anthropology provides a comparative analysis of cultures all around the globe, physical/ biological anthropology provides details of evolution that this culture and its followers have shown over the period of time. Similarly, evolution of linguistics is considered as an important tool of examining changes in culture as language is a distinct characteristic of every human society. On the other hand, archeology refers to examination of past and present cultures and their physical remains. All these fields when tied together provide a detailed yet multidimensional account of one particular era of human history. Another major tying element is the disciplinary holism of anthropology (Harris, 1997). This method allows anthropologists to question why all these subfields are tied together in anthropology. This inter-relational nature of anthropology asserts that this study is a system-oriented phenomenon. Therefore, changes in one part of the society helps in examining changes the other parts went through. Examining a relationship between environment and humans helps in understanding the changes culture went through over the period of time and its related consequences on other dimensions of anthropology. Question 2 There are various types of evidences that support the phenomenon of evolution that living beings have experienced over the course of time. Some of these evidences include biogeography, functional morphology, paleontology, comparative embryology, animal and plant breeding and other molecular evidences (University of Arizona, 1996). These evidences can be categorized into direct observation, homology, vestigial traits and compensatory design, and fossil fuel records accordingly (Coyne, 2009). Evidences obtained through biogeography were based on examination of fossil remains which indicated that organisms present in isolated areas bear nearly same characteristics as those present in the mainland. On the other hand, functional morphology was based on evidences derived through examination of vestigial organs. Despite non-functional nature of these organs, there are various species that contain vestigial organs like pelvic bones in whales and tailbones in humans. Fossils also provide a detailed account of morphology. They contain records of simple structures that have shown evolution over the period of time and have developed into complex structures with different transitional forms. Comparative embryology helps in examining similar traits in embryos of different species at early stages (University of Arizona, 1996). This notion supports the idea of homology in different species. Such homology can also be supported through genetic evidences and similar construction of body parts in different species which further helps in identifying their common ancestors. As far as examination of animal and plant breeding is concerned, it supports the phenomenon of artificial selection that lead to differentiation between domesticated and wild living beings. Simple example of this concept can be domestic breeds of dogs, cats and pigeons that have common ancestors as the wild animals however they bear various distinct physical and behavioral characteristics. Question 3 There are various evidences that indicate humans being a typical primate. A primate is expected to have distinct characters that distinguish it from other ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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