End of Chapter 01 Questions

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright May 2018


1. Given that you've only just been introduced to the field of physical anthropology, why do you think subjects such as anatomy, genetics, nonhuman primate behavior, and human evolution are integrated into a discussion of what it means to be human?

2. Do you see a connection between hominid footprints that are almost 4 million years old and human footprints left on the moon in 1969? If so, do you think this relationship is important? What does the fact that there are human footprints on the moon say about human adaptation? (consider both biological and cultural adaptation.)

3. Can you identify some areas of overlap between the subfields of anthropology? Why is it important to understand humankind from a holistic perspective?


1. These diverse topics are all integrated because they are all concerned with the question, "What does it mean to be a human being?"

Anatomy is discussing the question, "What is a human body?"

Genetics is discussing the question, "What controls the shape and behavior of the human body?"

Nonhuman primate behavior and human evolution are both discussing the question, "Where did these distinctive characteristics come from?"

2. The important relationship is that bipedal walking is more efficient than quadrupedal walking only when carrying things is important. (The only other reason to have it is to get from tree to tree -- in the trees bipedal is related to efficient swinging from branch to branch.) This implies that carrying things was important to the hominids four million years ago. Tool use evolved from carrying things, it made carrying things even more valuable. The footprints on the moon indicate just how valuable tool use became four million years later.

3. More curious to me is why these specialties became split up. That is not so clear. Maybe that will become clearer as we read more.



--The End--