What is Anthropology?

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Gach 1
Tyler Gach
Study Guide 1-1 Kottak, Chapters 1 & 3
Chapter 1: What is Anthropology?
Explain what is meant by the statement that anthropology is the holistic and comparative study
of humanity.
Answer: Anthropology is the holistic and comparative study of humanity. It is the systematic
exploration of human biological and cultural diversity. Examining the origins of, and changes in
human biology and culture, anthropology provides explanations for similarities and differences.
The four subfields of general anthropology are (socio)cultural, archaeological, biological, and
linguistic. All consider variation in time and space. Each also examines adaptation
Explain the significance of the four primary types of human adaptation.
Answer: Culture adaptation - "technical" EX: coping with low oxygen at high altitude.
Genetic adaptation - occurs over generations EX: larger "barrel chests" of native highlanders.
Long-term physiological adaptation - occurs during growth and development of the individual
organism EX: more efficient respiratory system, to extract oxygen from "thin air".
Short-term physiological adaptation - occurs spontaneously when the individual organism enters
new environment EX: increased heart rate, hyperventilation.
List the four subfields of anthropology (including methods and key terms discussed in the text &
lecture).
Answer: Biological Anthropology - Primatology, Paleoanthropology, Human Adaptation and
Variation, and Forensics
Archeology - Prehistoric Archeology and Historic Archeology
Cultural Anthropology - Sex and genders, kinship, family and marriage, social organization,
religion, art
Linguistic Anthropology - Historical linguistics and Sociolinguistics
Distinguish between ethnography and ethnology.
Answer: Ethnography focuses on single cultures or specific structures within one culture, while
ethnology is a study of the members and structures of cultures and of the relationship of
members to their cultures
Identify the work of applied anthropologists.
Answer: Applied anthropologists are involved in government, corporate organizations, social,
political, and economic fields, including world business, creating public policy, law enforcement,
the communication field, and medicine
Summarize why anthropology is considered a social science.
Answer: Anthropology shares certain interests and subjects of study with other fields of social
science, especially sociology, psychology, and history, but also economics and political science
Describe the scientific method and its application in anthropological research.
Gach 2
Answer: An approach to research where a problem is identified a hypothesis is stated and that
hypothesis is tested by collecting and analyzing data, used by biological anthropologists use the
scientific method as a way of learning about the world around them.
Define the following terms (and provide any examples from the text and lecture):
Anthropological archaeology (archaeology): seeks both to understand the human past including
the origin and evolution of culture, inequality, agriculture, and urban life. Ex: examining
mummies in tombs
Anthropology: the study of human societies, cultures, and their development
Applied Anthropology: “anthropology put to use” It is any kind of anthropological research that
is done to solve practical problems
Association: and observed relationship between two or more variables
Biocultural: combines biological and cultural perspectives and approaches (to solve a common
problem)
Biological Anthropology: 4 focuses in the following areas human evolution, human genetics,

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