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70 Cards in this Set

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The study of human nature, human society, and the human past.


A characteristic of the most anthropological perspective that describes, at the highest and most inclusive level, how anthropology tries to integrate all that is known about human beings and their activities.


Sets of learned behavior and ideas that human beings acquire as members of society together with the material artifacts and structures that human beings create and use. Human beings use culture to adapt to and transform the world in which they live.

The Four Fields of Anthropology






Fieldwork involved in cultural anthropology, it is the understanding present compare to past dynamics and is studied through the participation in the culture in order to understand it.


The comparison of two different cultures.

Example: ceramics; many cultures make but it how they are made that is different from culture to culture.

Material Culture

Objects created or shaped by human beings and given meaning by cultural practices.

Examples: traditional dress

Social Science

Relies on qualitative instead of quantitative, cannot repeat experiments the same way due to the fact that humans can't/don't do things the exact same way every time (very hard to eliminate bias).

Applied Anthropology

The application of anthropology that is not fully academic.

Example: Anthropologists work with the military to go in towns to facilitate communication of symbols in their culture (buildings, trees, etc.) to protect and not destroy.


The belief, derived from Plato, in fixed ideas, or "forms" that exist perfect and unchanging in eternity. Actual objects in the temporal world, such as cows or horses, are seen as imperfect material realizations of the ideal form that defines their kind.

Great Chain of Being

God->Angel->Heaven->Human->Beast (animals)->Plant->Flames->Stone. Humans place self as close to God as possible due to humans having a soul while animals do not.


Over course of time series of catastrophes wiped out all species on earth and God immediately replaced them with other species. The last catastrophic event was Noah and the Flood.

Charles Lyell (1797-1875)

Geologist, believed in the Chain of Being and very religious but pushed biblical beliefs with Uniformation Geology.

Uniformation Geology

The idea that everything happening now to the earth happened in the past. Erosion is happening today and has been happening for an extremely long time, geology is constant.

Jean-Baptist Lamarck's Two Laws

1.) An organism is strengthened by use and weakened by disuse.

2.) Said characteristics that are developed-through use or disuse-by a species can be inherited by their offspring. (Proven wrong by genetics because parents cannot pass strength on to their offspring)

Charles Darwin

Introduces new concepts and believes species can change/adapt over time. Pushed boundaries on how similar animals came from a common ancestor.

Theory of Common Ancestry

Idea that lots of different animals/species can come from a common ancestor.

Natural Selection

Idea that nature chooses what/who survives based on environmental conditions (variations that are more suitable for survival in environment).


Thing that is most apt, trait that is beneficial and this may not be selected for "us." Shaping of any useful feature of an organism, regardless of its origin.


Something that is obviously selected for something specific and is still useful. Shaping of useful features of an organism by natural selection for the function they now perform.


Feature of an organism selected for some reason but over time reason has changed. Shaping of useful feature of an organism by natural selection to perform one function and the later reshaping of it by different selection pressures to perform a new function.


The physical traits of something like a flower/person/animal. Protein manifestation of genes.


Actual manifestation of genes in living organisms.

George Mendel's Two Principles

1.) Principle of Segregation: dominant and recessive genes. One particle (gene) is given to child from each parent.

2.) Principle of Independent Assortment: particles (genes) from parents separate randomly and come together randomly.

Discontinuous Variation

Pattern of phenotypic variation in which the phenotype (ex: flower color) exhibits sharp breaks from one member of the population to the next. (Dominant/Recessive)

Continuous Variation

Pattern of variation involving polygeny in which the phenotypic traits grade imperceptibly from one member of the population to another without sharp breaks.


The phenomenon whereby many genes are responsible for producing a phenotypic trait, such as skin color.


When a gene affects multiple traits.

Example: a chicken with white feathers; the gene makes the feathers white but also makes the chicken grow slower.

Carl Linneaus (1707-1778)

One of the fathers of modern biology. He started the process of classifying everything aka taxonomy.

Population Genetics

Can occur microcosmically where a certain gene can pop up in one population and not another.

Founder Effect

The migration of a select number of a species with the same phenotype move away and a lot of the new population is the same.

Bottleneck Effect

Something like a disease comes through a population and those who survive have the same characteristics.

Four Evolutionary Processes

1.) Natural Selection

2.) Mutation

3.) Gene Flow

4.) Genetic Drift


The scientific study of the biological (especially ecological and evolutionary) aspects of social behavior in animals and humans.

Phyletic Gradualism

Gradual change to another species.

Punctuated Equilibrium

Not gradual, for example genetic mutation or genetic drift (random reduction of population).


Genetic inheritance resulting from common ancestry.


Convergent, or parallel, evolution, as when two species with very different evolutionary histories develop similar physical features as a result of adapting to a similar environment.


Describes animals that are active during the night.


The ability to grasp, with fingers, toes, or a tail.


Describes animals that are active during the day.


Humans and their immediate ancestors (Miocene/human ancestor).


A primate of a group that includes humans, their fossil ancestors, and the great apes (late Oligocene)


A higher primate, especially an ape or apeman.


The scientific study of primates.


A suborder of primates that includes the lemuriform primates, which consist of the lemurs of Madagascar, galagos and pottos from Africa, and the lorises from India and southeast Asia.

Primate Evolutionary Trends

1.) Increasing brain size

2.) Reduction in projection of face/sense of smell

3.) Increasing dependence on sight

4.) A reduction in number of teeth


Human aspects/characteristics applied to non-human animals, way we relate things to us.


Argument that human beings modifications have changed the epic we are in. We are dramatically modifying the world. This is not fully accepted.

Eocene Primates

First primates occurred here. Anthropoid Split was in late Eocene or Early Oligocene.

Benefits of Bipedalism

1.) More energy (but slower)

2.) Easier to see predators

3.) Movement easier in rougher terrain and greater distances

4.) Less exposure to the sun

Ardipithecus Ramidus

First concrete possibility of being a walker, don't know if this led to humans because of so many missing pieces

Laetoli Footprints

Approximately 3 million years ago, direct evidence of some creature walking bipedal, don't know exactly what species because cannot tell from foot.

Australopithecus Afraensis (Lucy)

More like human now, 35% size of brain as human which is evidence of change from chimp to human

Late Miocene Transition and Hominins

There was a mass extinction during this time causing the change to hominins.

Homo Habilis

First homo species, there's a jump in brain size. Due to bigger brain size comes more complex tools, like the fashioning stone into tools.

Homo Erectus

First species to migrate from Africa, huge cranial jump from homo habilis to homo erectus.

Acheulian Culture

Hand axes that appear everywhere, was 1.5 million to 200,000 years ago (Homo Erectus).

Oldowan Tool Kit

A stone-tool tradition where the first specimens of the oldest human tools were found. The tools were very simple and almost indistinguishable from rocks that have lost a few flakes. First stone tools, the oldest is from about 2.6 million years ago.

Archaic Homo Sapiens

Old Homo sapiens, better than antecessor for being common ancestor to humans. Considered to be a shoot off that leads to modern humans but still not proven.

Homo Sapien Neanderthalensis

135,000 years ago or so. Neanderthal Brain Capacity similar to Homo sapiens and now considered homo sapien. Generally shorter or more robust than Homo sapiens. Gene for red hair may have come from neanderthal.


This specific species is more human like with brain size as well as physical features like dentition becoming more of a U shape as well as molars becoming bigger and canines becoming smaller.

Gracile v Robust

Robustness is the increase muscle, things becoming bigger and stronger. In looking for evidence of human ancestors we are looking for things to be the opposite which is gracile.


Middle Stone Age, associated with Neanderthals which shows more effort in the making of tools, sharper and more of a point.


Stone tools that are at least twice as long as they are wide.

Composite Tools

Tools such as bows and arrows in which several different materials are combined (e.g. stone, wood, bone, ivory, antler) to produce the final working implement.

Replacement Model

Hypothesis that only subordination of Homo erectus, probably located in Africa, underwent a rapid spurt of evolution to produce Homo sapiens 200,000-100,000 years ago. After that time, H. sapiens wold itself have multiplied and moved out of Africa, gradually populating the globe and eventually replacing any remaining populations of H. Erectus or their descendants.

Regional Continuity Model

Hypothesis that evolution from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens occurred gradually throughout the traditional range of H. erectus.


The search for fossilized remains of humanity's earliest ancestors.


Includes tarsiers and anthropoids, primates whose upper lips are not attached to their gums. These are considered suborders.