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Types of Anthropology

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Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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Introduction to Anthropology

Anthropology deals with the study of human beings and their cultures, from prehistoric times to today's modern times.  Anthropologists are the people to study and deal with the various different subjects that come under Anthropology.


Anthropologists often study, compare and try to determine the similarities and dissimilarities among different human communities from all around the world and even among different communities which evolved along the timeline or history of several countries. By doing this, anthropologists hope to increase their knowledge about certain community band groups and also about humanity as a whole.


Anthropology Logo

A few examples of logos resembling Anthropology are :


An Example of Anthropology Logo


An Example of Anthropology Logo


Another Example of Anthropology Logo

Another Example of Anthropology Logo


Types of Anthropology

Anthropology can be subdivided into two main divisions:


  •  Physical Anthropology

  •  Cultural Anthropology.


While physical anthropology deals with the study of physical features of human beings, on the other hand cultural anthropology examines different types of human cultures.


Both  of the above mentioned types of anthropology may also include the study of prehistoric, ancient, and modern humans.


Physical Anthropology

Physical anthropology is closely related to another science named biology as it involves studying the differences in physical features of human beings.


Physical Anthropologists often study human genes ( traits which are passed down from parents to their children). It may also involve studying the shape, size, and structure of different body parts or properties such as blood types.


Physical anthropologists may compare the different physical features among people belonging to different geographic areas, or they may also examine the physical differences between humans and other animals, such as apes. They may also study the remains of prehistoric humans to learn more about human origins, trying to decrypt  how and when modern humans developed.


Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology is closely related to a science named social science which is a field of study involving different human societies.


Cultural anthropologists study several different aspects of human cultures, both in different places and different times.


Their study may include the art, language, religion, clothing, customs, and social structure of a social society.


Cultural Anthropologists mainly try to study the meaning behind the practices and customs of any society.


What Does An Anthropologist Do? 

Let us first answer the question of who is an Anthropologist : An Anthropologist is a person who has mastered the science of Anthropology and hence studies the science in detail.


Now let us move on to our main focus, What does an Anthropologist do :


Some areas which Anthropologists study are:


  • Sociocultural Anthropology 

It seeks to understand the internal logic of different societies. 


  • Archaeology 

It involves Retrieving different artefacts from the past in order to understand our history better. 


  • Biological Anthropology 

It involves the study of human and non-human primates like apes to study evolution. 


  • Linguistic Anthropology 

This field of Anthropology seeks to explain the very nature of language and its use by human beings. 


  • Forensic Anthropology 

This involves identifying skeletal, or otherwise decomposed human remains to study their origin. 


  • Visual Anthropology 

Documenting everyday life through filmmaking as a history for the future generations. 


  • Museum Anthropology 

It involves interpreting the research and evidence collected to date to the general public.


Summary 

Anthropology is the study of human beings including their physical features, genetic information and their behaviour and social interactions. It also involves studying different societies and cultural groups. The two main subdivisions of Anthropology are Physical Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology. An Anthropologist is a person who has mastered in the subject of Anthropology and thus studies several different sub subjects of the science such as Biological Anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, visual anthropology, etc.


Sample Questions 

Complete the statements that follow by filling in the blanks with the most suitable answers:


1. Physical Anthropology is similar to another science namely __________

Biology 


2. Using filmmaking as a way to store today's information for future purposes is known as ____________.

Visual Anthropology.

FAQs on Types of Anthropology

1. How did our brain size change over time as evolution continued?

As humans evolved their brain size, that is the memory storing capacity increased till 1650 cubic centimetre but that brain size was too big for human babies as their passage from the womb of their mother became harder, due to this the brain capacity decreased. Modern human beings have a brain size or capacity of 1400 cubic centimetres.

2. When did the human ancestors begin walking on two legs?

Anthropologists study the shape of bones and then determine how an animal walked. Humans walk on two legs and thus their bones are differently shaped from other animals such as chimpanzees which walk on four legs. In this way, comparing the bones of our ancestors we can determine which one of them walked on four and which of them walked on two legs.


The Anthropologists are not sure yet when exactly our ancestors began walking on two legs.


Some scientists believe that Sahelanthropus tchadensis, who lived 7 million years ago, walked on two legs. Others think Orrorin tugenesis, who lived 6.1 million years ago, was able to walk bipedally. Their fossil remains are too incomplete to determine for sure. Ardipithecus ramidus who lived about 4.4 million years ago in Africa are considered the first hominin and surely walked on two legs.

3. How did the climate changes on earth affect human evolution?

As the climate on earth changed, the trees and plants changed as well, thus changing the food sources thereby changing various physical and biological aspects of humans such as their teeth, and systems for digesting the food.


As the climate became harsher it led to the development of more complex tools which laid the foundation of the several different tools that we use today.