|Science College, General Science Dept |
by Razzmatazz Poisson
Hello and welcome to my class on Anthropology.
This particular scientific discipline is very fascinating because it has to do with something we all care about - humans.
Anthropology deals with the origins, physical characteristics, and the cultural development of humans. The word comes from the Greek words "anthropos", meaning human being, and "logia", meaning study. It is the scientific study of humans from their beginnings millions of years ago to the present day. It strives to gain some understanding of the entire spectrum of human life.
There are four branches of anthropology. They are cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, physical anthropology and archaeology.
Cultural anthropology is the branch of anthropology that studies the various aspects of human culture. These are the norms, values and standards that are transmitted from one generation to next and by which people act.
Cultural anthropologists study human behavior by means of first-hand observation. Their work is not done in a laboratory or an excavation site. They observe and interpret the behavior of the people. They focus on a particular aspect of life such as kinship, religion, art or economics. Sometimes they may try to characterize a way of life as a whole.
Linguistic anthropology looks at the historical development of human language. It studies the ways in which that development can be used to discover the relationships of different cultures.
Linguistic anthropologists are concerned with the nature of language itself and the relationships between language, thought, and behavior. Their interest is in the interrelationship of language and all other aspects of human culture.
Physical anthropology, or Biological anthropologists, observe homo sapiens as a biological species. It studies its origins, evolutionary development, and the biological diversity of modern populations.
Physical anthropologists study the natural history of the human species and attempt to understand the biological basis for human nature and behavior abilities.
Archaeology studies the material remains of earlier cultures in order to understand and explain human behavior. Some people view it as a separate science rather than a branch of anthropology.
Archaeologists excavate and analyze tools, weapons, pottery, and other artifacts left behind by prehistoric societies in order to reconstruct their ancient lives. They also work as specialists in the preservation of knowledge from the past.
Anthropology asks what may be the most difficult and the most important question of all. What does it mean to be human? This questions may never be answered or fully understood. This is because the way people live is always changing. The study of anthropology will always be a fascinating subject because of this fact.