The chief branches of anthropology include physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, cultural anthropology, and social anthropology. In many respects these branches sometimes overlap. For instance, cultural anthropologists, and archeological anthropologists study many of the same cultural features. The major difference between the two is that with cultural anthropologists they focus on the present state of cultures, where archeological anthropologists tend to focus on past civilizations.
Physical anthropology: Otherwise known as biological anthropology, is the study of human physical characteristics. Three of the most outstanding characteristics of human beings are their larger brain capacity, bipedalism (the ability to walk upright, on two legs), and the use of opposability (being able to i.e. touch their thumb to the tip of their fingers). These anthropologists seek out fossil remains from prehistoric times to trace the development of their characteristics. They also look for cultural remains i.e. stone tools, evidence of fires etc. They often analyze physical differences among humans, including blood types, skin color, and hereditary diseases.
Archaeology anthropology: These anthropologists often study objects left by earlier civilizations, which includes buildings, textiles, art, and tools. They trace the development of cultures, by looking at the things these people made and used. These objects help the archeologists determine what early social life may have been like before. For example, the size of the peoples housing, which archeologists would then be able to infer how many people lived together at one time.
Linguistic anthropology: These anthropologists look at the ways that language has been communicated across different societies and cultures. Anthropological linguists, try to find connections between people’s language and other aspects of their culture. For example, in the Indonesian language, many statements include a reference to the social status of the person addressed. This use of the Indonesian language reflects the great importance of social status in Indonesian culture. Anthropologists called ethno-scientists study how words and their definition and classifications reflect peoples views of their environment and society.
Cultural anthropology: These anthropologists study cultural artwork, houses, tools, and other material products of a culture. They also study earlier non-material creations, including its music, religious beliefs, values and symbols. Some anthropologists specialize in various fields of cultural anthropology. These include:
+Ecological anthropologists: They look at the way earlier societies, integrated into its environment and how the environment affects the society’s culture.
+Psychological anthropologists: They study how individual’s personalities are shaped by different cultures and how children learn to share in their culture.
Social anthropology: This covers social relationships within human groups, both past and present. These relationships include family life, authority, and conflict. They devote much research to how social life is collaborated in different societies. A research might study a community to determine how these earlier people were divided into groups within the society. There are two forms of anthropologists in this social category:
+Economic anthropologists: They concentrate on how food and other goods are produced and distributed within their culture.
+Political anthropologists: They analyze how decisions are made and how conflicts are resolved within a community.