Ever wonder how we developed into the society that exists today? The answers are constantly being uncovered and so are ways for us to adapt to the future societies through the science of physical anthropology.
Biological or Physical anthropology studies the physical characteristics, variability and the very evolution of humans. Subfields of this science include studying human fossils, primates, genetics and blood groups.
Human Variation is how humans have evolved through out history based on how they have adapted to their geographic location. This section of physical anthropology also covers ethical issues. This area of physical anthropology will compare us with the primate in an effort to determine how we are linked to and evolved from earlier forms of life. The primate is after all our closest relative on earth.
Primatology compares the anatomy and relationships of people and primates along with the social behavior and living conditions of primates. By studying the primate it is hoped that we will learn how to help them and ourselves survive the constant changes in our environments.
The genetic make-up of both humans and primates is studied in the field of physical anthropology. How do think it was discovered that humans are relatives of primates? The genetic research aids the scientist in knowing how the current species are evolving and how they have evolved in the past to get to the current state of adaptation.
Paleoanthropology is the study of both primate and human fossils. It is this science that enables the dating of fossils and the reconstruction of the past environments. It is how our current cultures are linked to their past.
Archaeological techniques (digging in the ground very carfefully, photographing and begging the findings) are used to uncover fossils and acquire clues to our past history. The idea is to find links to ancient civilizations and the tools of the early man. By carefully dating the materials discovered it can give us a look into the past and just how far we have come; it may also tell us we aren't as evolved as we would like to think if we aren't careful.
Physical anthropology also conducts and keeps records on the studies of the current populations. The nutrition, growth and health of society and how it affects the ability to adjust and survive change in the environment are a key in understanding both people and primates alike. Eskimos survive in the extreme cold of the Artic and studying how they adapt would be the job of the physical anthropologist just as the study of a new disease would help in the efforts to understand our own survival on this planet.
Physical or Biological Anthropologists not only research but they teach others how to research as well.