Biological Anthropology

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Primate Skulls

Selection of Primate Skulls 

 

Biological anthropology or physical anthropology is a branch of anthropology that studies the mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability and variation, Primatology, primate morphology, and the fossil record of human evolution.

 

Physical anthropology was developed in the 19th century, prior to the rise of Alfred Russel Wallace's and Charles Darwin's theories of natural selection and Gregor Mendel's work on genetics. Physical anthropology was so called because all of its data was physical (fossils, especially human bones). With the rise of Darwinian Theory and the modern synthesis, anthropologists had access to new forms of data, and many began to call themselves "biological anthropologists."

 

Some of the early branches of physical anthropology, such as some of the early studies in anthropometry, have been criticized. Metrics such as the cephalic index were often used to derive behavioral characteristics.

 

Renowned biological anthropologists

 

A head measuring instrument used by 19th century anthropologists to measure such parameters as cephalic index:

 

Head Measuring Instrument

A head measuring instrument used by 19th century anthropologists to measure such parameters as cephalic index 

  • Richard Leakey (1944- )
  • David Pilbeam
  • Elwyn Simons
  • Phillip V. Tobias (1925-)
  • Alan C. Walker (1938- )
  • Sherwood Washburn (1911 - 2000)
  • Ralph Holloway (1935- )
  • Milford H. Wolpoff (1942- )
  • Pardis Sabeti (1975- )
  • Raymond Dart
  • Eugenie C. Scott (1945- )
  • Randy Skelton
  • Donald Johanson
  • Yohannes Haile-Selassie

 

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Biological Anthropology

 

 

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