Physical or biological anthropology is a branch of anthropology that aims to study the interactions of biological processes and their effects on human populations, which implies a biological knowledge. In other words, it studies human considering its nature.
Use free sample research papers to understand that physical or biological anthropology is a discipline coming from both anthropology and biology, which specializes in studying collective variations between primates or people, unlike medicine, which studies the anatomical variation in individuals. Biological anthropology is engaged in the study of primate evolution in relation to environmental factors, as well as to the study of the relationship between the anatomy and behavior.
Biological anthropology is also subdivided into different branches. The sub-specialties of physical anthropology can be arranged in two trends: the descriptive and the metric.
The descriptive sub-specialties focus on comparing and contrasting appearances or not measurable between groups of characters. The metric sub-specialties study and develop techniques of measurement of the parts of the human body (Anthropometry).
The sub-specialties include:
- Forensic anthropology;
- Genetic anthropology;
- Human Ecology.
A large part of the subject engaged in osteology (the study of bones), human genetics, and studying the relationship between the cranial evolution and the evolution of the human mind.
From the middle of the 20th century, biological anthropology has been criticized for producing and fueling racist theories, in which it was common to classify human races as biologically based. The subject led to the perception of the existence of separate human races, that these were better or worse suited to the Western civilization and its values.
Initially, the theory of natural selection by Charles Darwin was used as theoretical basis. Then, in 1953, the theory of natural selection was added and deepened by the success of Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin, under the supervision of James Watson to decipher the structure and molecular composition of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). This discovery allowed molecularly understand the phenotypic variability of organisms and, thus, be able to understand how the evolutionary process has been biochemically. Biochemical understanding allowed the analysis of the genetic affinities between different organisms, to validate, evenmore, the theory of the common ancestors.
Physical anthropology, as anthropological sub-discipline, is seen in a process of constant change, because those principles and idealsthat inspired the first anthropologists have been cancelled. The search for the unknown that characterized the first anthropologists is threatened by the accessibility of information, which overrides the need for exploration. Therefore, contemporary anthropologists should always consider the ideologies and the contributions of his predecessors. However, the modern methods of research should be selected with more caution, since the interactions of human beings with society and environment are changing very quickly. However, biological anthropology having its various sub-specialties each has its main focus subject, complement each other and contribute to its universal utility.
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