Chapter 1, Introduction Key Terms Hominidae The taxonomic family to which humans belong; also includes other, now extinct, bipedal relatives. Hominids Members of the family Hominidae. Bipedally On two feet. Walking habitually on two legs is the single most distinctive feature of the family Hominidae. Species A group of organisms that can interbreed to produce fertile offspring. Members of one species cannot mate with members of other species to produce fertile offspring. Primate A member of the order of mammals Primates which includes prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans. Culture All aspects of human adaptation, including technology, traditions, language, religion, marriage patterns, and social roles. A set of learned behaviors transmitted from one generation to the next by nonbiological means. Evolution A change in the genetic structure of a population. The term is also frequently used to refer to the appearance of a new species. World view General cultural orientation or perspective shared by members of a society. Biocultural evolution The mutual, interactive evolution of human biology and culture; the concept that biology makes culture possible and that developing culture influences the direction of biological evolution. Adaptation Functional response of organisms or populations to the environment. Adaptation results from evolutionary change, specifically as a result of natural selection. Anthropology The field of inquiry that studies human culture and evolutionary aspects of human biology; includes cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and physical (or biological) anthropology. Ethnographies Detailed descriptive studies of human societies. In cultural anthropology, an ethnography is traditionally the study of a nonWestern society. Artifacts Objects or materials made or modified for use by hominids. The earliest artifacts tend to be tools made of stone or, occasionally, bone. Material culture The physical manifestations of human activities; includes tools, art, and structures. Paleoanthropology The interdisciplinary approach to the study of earlier hominids—their chronology, physical structure, archaeological remains, habitats, etc. Anthropometry Measurement of human body parts. When osteologists measure skeletal elements, the term osteometry is often used. Genetics The study of gene structure and action and the patterns of inheritance of traits from parent to offspring. Genetic mechanisms are the underlying foundation for evolutionary change. Primatology The study of the biology and behavior of nonhuman primates (prosimians, monkeys, and apes). Osteology The study of skeletal material. Human osteology focuses on the interpretation of the skeletal remains of past groups. Forensic anthropology An applied anthropological approach dealing with legal matters. Physical anthropologists work with coroners and others in the identification and analysis of human remains. Paleopathology The branch of osteology that studies the evidence of disease and injury in human skeletal (or, occasionally, mummified) remains. Science A body of knowledge gained through observation and experimentation; from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge.” Empirical Relying on experiment or observation; from the Latin empiricus, meaning “experienced.” Scientific method A research method whereby a problem is identified, a hypothesis is stated, and that hypothesis is tested through collection and analysis of data. If the hypothesis is verified, it becomes a theory. Data Facts from which conclusions can be drawn; scientific information. Quantitatively In a manner involving measurements of quantity and including such properties as size, number, and capacity. Hypothesis A provisional explanation of a phenomenon. Hypotheses require verification. Scientific testing The precise repetition of an experiment or expansion of observed data to provide verification; the procedure by which hypotheses and theories are verified, modified, or discarded. Theory A broad statement of scientific relationships or underlying principles that has been at least partially verified. Ethnocentric Viewing other cultures from the inherently biased perspective of one’s own culture. Ethnocentrism often results in cultures being seen as inferior to one’s own. Continuum A set of relationships in which all components fall along a single integrated spectrum. All life respects a single biological continuum.