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Essay on Physical Anthropology: The Link between Human Nature

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Physical anthropology “is in large part, human biology seen from an evolutionary perspective” (Jurmaln, Kilgore & Trevathan, 2011). By this statement, I believe the authors mean that physical anthropology studies human biology with an evolutionary viewpoint rather than a scientific or medical viewpoint. Anthropology, as a broader science, is concerned with and studies human culture and the evolutionary aspects of human biology. Since culture affects human beings and human beings affect culture, the two are intertwined, and it therefore, makes sense to study them together. There are other types of anthropology (cultural anthropology, applied anthropology, archeology, forensic anthropology, and linguistic anthropology), but physical anthropology is the specific area that focuses on the biological link between humans and their culture. One of the common links among all areas of anthropology is genetics. But, because it specifically studies human beings, physical anthropology is the primary vehicle for the study of evolution.
Physical anthropology delineated from the nineteenth-century naturalists and natural historians. The naturalists, although rooted in religious beliefs and explanations of the world, were the pioneers of evolutionary science because they began to look for explanations that were not found in religious texts. They explored the natural world. In today’s world, physical anthropologists focus on human variation in order to determine what factors into the physical and genetic variation of humans. Because the human anatomy is a large part of our biological makeup, some physical anthropologists specialize in just studying the human anatomy and physical anthropology is a good basis for other career choices s...


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...generations. If it is a beneficial mutation, then it will likely not only pass on through reproduction, but those offspring will have better odds of reproducing in order to “spread” that trait onto future offspring. This is the process of natural selection. If there are enough changes or the change is drastic enough, a new species can evolve. So, evolution comes about as a result of changes to DNA and some of those changes to DNA can come from external factors such as environment, climate, and culture.
So, physical anthropology incorporates many factors into its' studies. It looks to biology for answers and clues about evolution, but also at humanity overall, which includes culture and environmental factors.


Works Cited

Jurmaln, R., Kilgore, L., & Trevathan, W. (2011). Essentials of physical anthropology. (9th ed., p. 5). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.



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