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Transcript
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.