Biological anthropology

Biological anthropology

Biological anthropology (also known as bioanthropology[1] and physical anthropology) is a branch of anthropology that studies the physical development of the human species. It plays an important part in paleoanthropology (the study of human origins) and in forensic anthropology (the analysis and identification of human remains for legal purposes). It draws upon human anthropometrics (body measurements), human genetics (molecular anthropology) and human osteology (the study of bones) and includes neuroanthropology, the study of human brain evolution, and of culture as neurological adaptation to environment. In two centuries biological anthropology has been involved in a range of controversies. The quest for human origins was accompanied by the evolution debate and various racial theories. The nature and nurture debate became a political battleground. There have been various attempts to correlate human physique with psychological traits such as intelligence, criminality and personality type, many of which proved themselves mistaken and are now obsolete. The nomenclature of the field is not exact: the relevant subdivision of the American Anthropological Association is the Biological Anthropology Section while the principal professional organization is the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. The term "biological anthropology" emerged with the rise of genetics and incorporates genetic markers as well as primate ethology. Paleoanthropology, the study of fossil evide

ce for human evolution, studying hominid fossil evidence and dating to determine matters such as the time and manner in which the mandible evolved, the effect of nature and environment on bipedality or the use of opposable thumb, with hominid classification and the individual naming of the proposed species and their place in primatology, the study of primates. Human behavioral ecology, the study of behavioral adaptations (foraging, reproduction, ontogeny) from the evolutionary and ecologic perspectives, (see behavioral ecology). Human adaptation, the study of human adaptive responses (physiologic, developmental, genetic) to environmental stresses and variation. Human biology, an interdisciplinary field of biology, biological anthropology, nutrition and medicine, concentrates upon international, population-level perspectives on health, evolution, adaptation and population genetics. Human osteology, the study of human bones. Paleopathology, the study of disease in antiquity. This study focuses not only on pathogenic conditions observable in bones or mummified soft tissue, but also on nutritional disorders, variation in stature or the morphology of bones over time, evidence of physical trauma, or evidence of occupationally derived biomechanic stress. Forensic anthropology, the application of osteology, paleopathology, archaeology, and other anthropological techniques for the identification of modern human remains or the reconstruction of events surrounding a person's death.