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Topic on Anthropology

Chapter 1

  • How are humans described taxonomically? (Class, Order, Genus, Species)
  • List and fully explain 2 concrete reasons why anthropologists should study non-human primates. What do we learn about ourselves in the process? 
  • List the 3 of the 5 groups of primates and clearly list the following:  a.  diurnal or nocturnal; b.  locomotion; c. specific geographic locations.  

Select 2 of the following:

  • Discuss how Lamarck’s and Lyell’s theories contributed to Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Be sure to include the following: a. describe each individual theory and b. address how Darwin built on each theory.
  • Explain the relationship between natural selection, genetic population variation and adaptation.  Be sure to clearly define natural selection and explain the role “survival of the fittest” plays. (NOTE: It is NOT survival of the strongest.)  5pts 
  • Describe how sickle-cell anemia is an environmental adaption.  Be sure to fully explain how this genetic mutation can be both beneficial and detrimental. (5pts)
  • Compare and contrast how dominance hierarchy is expressed differently among gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. 

Chapter 2

  • Define/compare: “Race”, Ethnicity, Nationality
  • Drawing from our readings, physical anthropologists agree there are 4 key items that help us understand why there are various skin tones. List the 4 key factors that impact skin variation.
  • Anthropologists agree that there are 3 types of human adaption (Ch. 12).  A. List and define each.  B.  List and briefly explain an example for each.
  • Drawing from our discussion and readings on human adaptation to heat and cold, compare and contrast Bergman and Allen’s Rules.  Be sure to a. clearly define each “rule”  and b. describe each of its premise and evidence (use specific examples). 
  • Compare and contrast ethnocide from genocide.  Be sure to provide the following: a. completely define each term by providing key characteristics and b.  list AND fully explain a specific example. 
  • Compare and contrast disease from illness.  Be sure to provide the following: a. fully define each term by indicating which is biological and which is cultural and b. provide AND fully explain a specific example for each.


  • Chronology and key characteristics for key Australopithecines & genus Homo
  • Compare & Contrast
    • Arboreal hypothesis v. visual predation
    • adducted & abducted toes
    • pros & cons of bipedalism
    • multiregional hypothesis v. Out of Africa/Eve hypothesis
  • What is the law of competitive exclusion and what role did it play in early human evolution?
  • What is the importance of the use of fire?  Consider the advantages of this cultural innovation and how it affected other areas.
  •  “Cognitive capacity” is learned and not carried by genes.  What does this mean in regard to the spread of culture?
  • Given the evidence, how would you classify the Neandertals?  Support your response with specific criteria.
  • Describe the connection between tool-making AND brain development (language).
  • Why does context have such an important role in understanding the past? (Archaeology)

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