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Anthropology

TermDefinition
Anthropology The scientific study of humans, including their origins, behaviour, physical, social, and cultural development.
Physical Anthropology The study of where humans as a species come from, how our bodies evolved to their present form, and what makes humans unique.
Cultural Anthropology The study and comparison of both past and present cultures of different peoples.
Paleoanthropology The study of human ancestors based on fossil evidence from the distanct evolutionary past.
Hominin A human or human ancestor.
Fossil Preserved remains of biological matter.
Radiometric Dating A process that is used to determine the age of an object, based on measuring the amount of radioactive material it has.
Bipedalism The trait of habitually walking on two legs.
Forensic Anthropology Identifies human remains and assists in the detection of crime e.g. DNA analysis. The study of human remains to identify individuals after mass disasters, wars, homicides, suicides, or accidental deaths.
Primatology The study of the anatomy and behaviours of living primates, investigating what makes humans similar to and different from primates, in order to learn more about ourselves.
Informant A reliable and knowledgeable person who provides specific information to an anthropologist studying his or her community.
Australopithecus One of the first identified early forms of humans, discovered in South Africa.
Homo Erectus One of our closest ancestors that is known to have first designed stone tools such as axes and scrapers.
Kinship The relationship between two or more people that is based on common ancestry, marriage, or adoption.
Cultural Relativism A school of thought in Cultural Anthropology, promoted by Franz Boas, stating that an anthropologist cannot compare two cultures because each culture has its own internal rules that must be accepted.
Functional Theory A school of thought in Cultural Anthropology, stating that every belief, action, or relationship in a culture functions to meet the needs of individuals. The theory stressess the importance of interdependence among all things within a social system.
Cultural Materialism A school of thought in Cultural Anthropology, pioneered by Marvin Harris in the 1960s, stating that materials or conditions within the environment influence how a culture develops, creating the ideas and ideology of a culture.
Feminist Anthropology A school of thought in Cultural Anthropology, that looks at how cultures determne gender roles, try to debunk gender myths, and show how our ideas about gender are culturally constructed.
Postmodernism A school of thought in Cultural Anthropology,believing that it is impossible to have any "true" knowledge about the world, rejecting the idea of objective truth, and believing what we "know" about the world, is our own construction, created by society.
Culturally constructed Created or shaped by a culture.
Linguistic Anthropology The study of the structure of language. The study of human languages and how language affects and expresses culture.
Historical Linguistics An area of linguistic anthropology that compares similaritie and differences of language structures so they can understand how languages are related and how people migrated in the past.
Structural Linguistics An area of linguistic anthropology that studies how sounds are put together to make meaning. Noam Chomsky is known as the founding father of this field of linguistics.
Sociolinguistics An area of linguistic anthropology that studies how people use language within their culture to express status and context. Study focuses on both the spoken word as well as body language in different cultural contexts.
Archaeology The excavation and study of human remains and artifacts to see how humans lived in various cultures.
Prehistoric Archaeology The archaeological study of civilizations with no written record.
Culture A way of life. The total system of ideas, values, behaviours, and attitudes of a society commonly shared by most members of a society.
Abstract Concepts An idea separate from a specific object or situation, and that is not concrete. Eg. "courage"
Dependence A state of relying on another for help or support.
Genetics The study of heredity.
Theory of Evolution The idea that all living things developed from one or a few simple forms of life. Many different and complex life forms developed as a result of adaptation to various environments.
Natural Selection The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations.
Survival of the Fittest Species are able to evolve and adapt to survive. Over long periods, species pass these characteristics on to their offspring, which leads to continual survival.
Fossils Human or animal remains turned to stone over time.
Charles Darwin A British scientist who developed the theory of evolution and wrote the famous publication of "Origin of the Species", in 1859.
Galapagos Islands Islands off the west coast of South America where Darwin traveled to conduct his research and considered natural selection.
"Lucy" In 1974, the most complete specimen of Australopithecus discovered by Donald Johanson in Ethiopia.
Raymond Dart The anatomist and anthropologist who discovered the first evidence of Australopithecus in South Africa in 1924.
Mary Leakey An paleoanthropologist who discovered an almost complete skull of Australopithecus in Tanzania in 1959. Worked with her husband, Louis Leakey, to prove that humans first evolved in Africa.
John T. Scopes A biology teacher in Tennessee, who was charged and tried in court in 1925, for teaching evolution. His case became known as the Scopes trial.
The Theory of Creation A theory that states that matter and all things were created in much the same form as they now exist, by an all-powerful Creator.
The Theory of Intervention A theory that states that human beings evolved to the Homo Erectus stage, after which a superior power changed Homo Erectus creatures into human beings similar to modern ones.
Margaret Mead An American cultural anthropologist who is well known for her contributions to the field of anthropology including her famous publication, "Coming of Age in Samoa".
Jane Goodall A modern anthropologist, that studied the social organization of chimpanzees.
Ethnology The study of the origins and cultures of different races and peoples.
Ethnography The written account of a culture.
Created by: satecAPS
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