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About the Physical Anthropology

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Physical anthropology has determined the place of human beings through their comparison with lower primates, as well as interpreting their physical differences among different races. This has been carried out through the use of genetics, comparative anatomy, and evolution in their findings.

Right from the early investigations, early anthropology began from the 19th century. This is where man developed interest in trying to find out where man originated from, the biological intertwine between different races, and finding out how man has changed over the years as an animal. All these activities have been. This was carried out through arranging of species from the lowest to the highest following their hierarchy order. This is regarded to as the great chain of human beings. It was meant to find out whether there was any progression from the lower life forms up to what they are presently. For example from the lower primates, that is apes and monkeys to their current form which is human beings. From what was found out, there lacked a continuous progression from these lower primates, this led the scientists to state that there was a missing link between the two. That is the link between the humans and apes and monkeys (History World International, 2011).

To distinguish man from these two lower primates, several tests were taken. These tests included measuring of the human brains, arm length, height, cranial capacity, leg length, and the use of comparative anatomy other characteristic to note was the color of the skin as well as the personality traits as their bases to group animals and races in the most appropriate order.

In 19th century, anthropologists had ignored most of their findings. This is because of some limitations which they encountered. These shortcomings included; the ignorance dissolute by areas such as astronomy, archeology, and biblical science. With the accordance to religious teachings, the world was known to have been 6000 years old. It also had a suggestion that all animals on it were created at the same time. These challenges were not cleared until when Charles Darwin came up with the evolution theory.

As it was described by Charles Darwin as evolution, it made the bases to which anthropologists reached to a point of congruence where humans originated from. The most vital impact of evolution of man is that provided by the idea of natural selection. Darwin showed up that nature selected forms which are better adapted to any given geographical zone and a particular culture or the way of life. The adaptation notion provided that living things changed gradually over a period of time. The need of a missing link was also disqualified. This link was not at any time regarded to as a product of evolution development. Instead it was regarded to as the creature which was placed between human beings and ape in the natural hierarchy of things.

Since then, there has been a major change in the anthropology findings. This was not until the following century from when the bases of anthropology or when its foundation was laid. This was around the 20th century when the modern anthropology was created. This was the shift which was from the physical appearance or the human traits to the use of blood to find out where each belonged or originated from. This was based on the ABO blood principles and genes.

Genes are defined as, units within sex cells such as sperm or the ovum. These sex cells carry with them the hereditary characteristics or traits which can be transmitted from one generation to the next. Using the inherited genes study, anthropologist has used it to understand human variation as well as the variation between races. The theory of progressive evolution has been modified through experiments which have been carried out. These experiments show that there might be generic reversals. This is in other words; the genes which were thought to be discarded came back to existence inherited in another human being.

Karl Landsteiner, an Australian physician discovered the different blood groups in the early 20th century. These were the blood groups which were known as A, B, O, and AB. This drove the anthropologists to investigate the blood among the different races and their distribution. It has been found out that certain sub races and races have a particular distribution of one or another blood type. This is what has enabled scientists to categorize the races. Also, with the blood types genetically determined to trace early migration patterns.

Dating has also been used by anthropologists, geologists, and archeologists to determine how old something is. For instance; traces of a layer of rocks, human fossil, and collection of pottery among other remains which can be determined. Dating has been categorized into relative and absolute dating. Relative dating is where the order of how the occurrence of events occurred. However, it does not tell where in exact did the event happened. Absolute dating indicates with a relatively fair degree how old is something?  It absolute dating also depends on any of technological advances which have been discovered in the20th century.

Relative dating has also been used by Geologists and archeologists in determining the approximate age on earth, of fossils, and artifacts. The determination of the intervals of time from one layer of rock to the other is carried out by geologists.

Fluorine dating is another method of dating used to determine relative age. It functions on the principle that bones absorb fluorine element from the soil which they are buried in. the more the bones are buried, the more they will contain fluorine in them. The demerit of using this method is that more samples are taken from the immediate area. These are the different methods of used in the modern anthropology to determine the distribution, origin as well as the age of certain fossils (History World International, 2011).

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