Last Modified: 2011-12-06
Related Textbooks:Introduction to Physical Anthropology 2009-2010 Edition
The Flores Hominin—Where does it fit? Where was it found?
Question arose if it was a human or new species (Homo floresiensis)?
-- No consensus: Pathological modern human, population of small modern humans, or new species (most likely explanation)
␣ Insular (island) dwarfism?
Traditionally “race” as the primary term
But, what does race actually mean?
-- There are various meanings in popular usage of the word race:
--The term race has been used synonymously in biology with sub-species & to designate geographic variation in a species
--Today, race is generally not used as a taxonomic term
-Homo sapiens afer(Africans)
-- H.s. americanus (American Indians)
-- H.s. asiaticus (Asians)
-- H.s. ferus (WildMen)
Linnaeus looked at skin color, head size & shape, geography, and perceived intelligence & behavior
--Physical/Behavioral link (Biological determinism)
Linnaeus's system reflects the period he lived in where Europeans viewed themselves as superior to all others --- the least complimentary descriptions went toward the Saharan Africans
He looked at the size and shape of the head: Emphasis on Measurement & Empirical
Investigation of Differences
-- Anthropometry & Craniometry
e.g., Cephalic Index thought to be a precise scientific technique for classifying humans
Emphasized Fixity of Differences and Hierarchy of Worth (Ranking)
-- Context of colonialism (Scientific racism)
Cephalic Index (maximum cranial breadth by maximum cranial lengthx100) -- way of looking at brain size -- they used to look at brain size to determine what "race" people belonged to
This is the term for the philosophy of “race improvement”; idea that controlled selective breeding can improve the human species
-- Eugenics movement in the Europe and the US -- Strongest in Germany (the Holocaust)
Nazi pseudoscience and idea of racial purity
-at least 60,000 Americans were sterilized against their will
-psuedoscience techniques were used to ensure Aryan Ancestry -- people were tested to determine if they truly were of Aryan descent
-Race should not be used because of misuse/abuse of the term in the past
-Major problems with the concept of race as applied to describing human biological variation (the amount of genetic variation between groups is exceeded by the variation that exists within groups -- race is an outdated creation of the human mind that attempts to simplify biological complexity by organizing it into categories)
--Biological (phenotypes and outward appearance) vs. social concepts of race
-He aided in the study of evolutionary origins --focused on primates and human origins
-Saw evolutionary theory as unifying framework for studying human biological variation
-Typology “population thinking” -- this means that categories are distinct and based on stereotypes or ideals that comprise a specific set of traits --typologies are misleading because they group many individuals who don't conform to all aspects of a particular type
- saw the Importance of variation
-Biologists use the term “population” to refer to a group of interbreeding individuals (a breeding unit)
What about sub-species?
For a population to be a sub-species it must:
-Be geographically distinct
-Have discrete variation
-Be genetically distinct
Different traits lead to different groupings (thus, choice of traits is arbitrary)
-- e.g.,skincolor vs. lactose tolerance vs. ABO blood group vs. metabolism
--The environment impacts the expression of most polygenic traits
-Most outward traits are polygenic (with continuous variation)
Most traits used historically for racial classification display _________ variation
--No simple divisions
--Most of these traits are influenced by multiple genes (polygenic traits) and are also influenced by environmental factors
--Not geographically distinct
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