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Anthro test 2 study guide
Anthro test 2 study guide
Undergraduate 1

Additional Anthropology Flashcards




The genus Homo: Homo Erectus

  • a.                  - Before H. erectus: Slow evolution between 3 mya and 1.8 mya

i.                     Ie from A. afarensis to H. habilis

  • b.                 -Transition to H. erectus: Rapid evolution between 1.8 and 1.6 mya

i.                     From short, small-brained H. habilis

ii.                   to tall, larger-brained H. erectus

  •           Punctuated equilibrium

a.                   = long periods of no evolutionary change are interrupted by short periods of rapid evolutionary change

  • b.                  Rapid change to H. erectus spurred by change in adaptive strategy:

i.                         -Larger body size gave greater success in hunting (incr nutrition + decr mortality

-  Larger brain > improved tools (incr nutrition)

a.                   Biological and cultural changes allowed Homo erectus to change adaptive strategy

                                -From gathering to gathering and hunting

-   Discovery of fire

            -Probably basic language

(1)               (No physical evidence, but can infer from more complex tools, hunting strategies)


  • a.                   More complex adaptive strategy expanded range of H. erectus from Africa to colder areas: Asia and Europe

         Punctuated equilibrium
                   = long periods of no evolutionary change are interrupted by short periods of rapid evolutionary change
             Archaic Homo sapiens


  • a.                   H. erectus splits into 2 species 300,000-28,000 years before present (BP)

  • i.                     Includes Homo fossils with larger brain and body size than H. erectus

  • (1)               Mix of features – great diversity, even in a single site

  • ii.                   Known as “archaic Homo sapiens”

  • iii.                  found in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia

b.                  Includes both early Homo sapiens, incl sub-species H. sapiens neanderthalensis

  • 2.                  Archaic Homo sapiens: Levallois tool-making techniques

Levallois tool-making techniques of Archaic Homo Sapiens
  •                      Multiple flakes detached from a prepared core

  • ii.                   More implements produced from a single stone

  • iii.                  Sharper, more durable, and faster to produce than previous methods

  • iv.                 invention of “hafting”: attaching bifaces to a handle

v.                   Made from materials from up to 300 km away








  • i.                     clearly human, with large brain – 1430 cubic cm

  • (1)               Correlates with larger body mass

  • ii.                   Innovative thinking: Mousterian production of complex tools, able to produce more tools from a single core than Levalloisian techniques


  • i.                     Other evidence of culture

  • -(1) clothing

            -(2) cave art

                        -(3)  burial practices

                                   -(4) Possibly gender system

                            -(5) probably language


  • 3.                  Selection for capacity to withstand  cold                      

       Western Europe, during interglacial period and into Wurm glacial period

-b.                  Large trunks relative to limbs

c.                                                                   Long broad noses and large nasal cavities

4.                  Other physical characteristics

a.                   Sloping forehead

b.                  “bun-like” back of skull

c.                   Large mid-facial region

d.                  Massive front teeth



Worn down to stubs by age 35-40 suggests use for tasks other than chewing food

5.                  Neandertals’ relationship to modern humans?

  • i.-                     -Overlapped in time with H. sapiens sapiens (anatomically modern humans)

  • ii.                  - Possibility of interbreeding because of physical and cultural similarities between Neandertal and later AMH populations at some sites

(1)               But recent analysis doesn’t show as much similarity between AMH and neanderthal DNA as would be expected if there were interbreeding


a.                   Which species is considered by most anthropologists to be the likely immediate ancestor to Archaic Homo sapiens?

i.                     A) Neanderthals

ii.                   B) Homo erectus

iii.                  C) Homo habilis

iv.                 D) Homo sapiens sapiens


i.                     Answer:

ii.                   B) Homo erectus


a.                   Why do anthropologists think that Homo erectus may have had basic language?



a.                   Answer:

b.                  Language is believed necessary for group hunting and manufacture of complex tools.







Homo sapiens sapiens


a.                   Evidence of our subspecies, H. sapiens sapiens (ie AMH or anatomically modern humans) 100-150,000 years ago in Africa


a.                   How did we come to expand over the globe?


              Competing theories

  1. Out of Africa II: archaic homo sapiens replaced by a competing species, H. sapiens sapiens that evolved in Africa and spread globally


  1. Multiregional evolution: populations of archaic H. sapiens throughout world evolved into modern humans
  • Supported by physical similarity between H. erectus, archaic homo sapiens, and contemporary populations in Africa, China, Southeast Asia  
.Ethnic groups
  • .Can share language, religion, history, geography, descent, or Arace@
  • .May be associated with a territory
  • .Barth: ethnicity exists when individuals recognize it themselves and are recognized as such by others
  • .Public emphasis on ethnicity can increase or decrease over time, reflecting political climate
.Does everyone have ethnicity?
  • .Everyone has ethnicity, but those who belong to dominant group may not be conscious of it
  • .Minority groups: fewer numbers, less power, Amarked@ category
  • .Dominant groups: greater numbers, more power, Aunmarked category@
Situational negotiation of identity
  • We all have different statuses, ie social positions that we occupy

ex: soldier, granddaughter, daughter, student, driver's license holder, canadian citizen 


  • .And emphasize them at different times

.Seinfeld: AGeorge=s worlds will collide@


  • .Which of them are dependent on your actions and choices?

-.Achieved statuses

  • .Which of them were you born into, and have no control over?

.Ascribed statuses

Ethnicity and situational identity


.Can everyone choose whether or not to emphasize their ethnic identity?

.Often associated with lack of power (individual or group)
Race as ascribed or achieved status?


  • .Race is a social construct: it exists as social categories, not biological ones
  • .US: race is ascribed

-Dichotomous system: white/blac

Cv white/black/colored in apartheid South Africa

  • .Believed to have a biological basis 

.Associated with appearance (phenotype) but not determined by it

.Film: AA Girl Like Me@


  • .Early settlers were families
  • .Large proportion of enslaved Africans, in close quarters
  • .Hypodescent maintains white privilege by excluding individuals of mixed ancestry(Brazil)
.What is race, anyway?


  • .A technical definition: Ageographically isolated subdivision of a species... [whose individuals] share distinctive physical characteristics based on ... common ancestry and inheritance of the same genes@

(Kottak, 2006:83)

  • .Scientific definition refers to shared genetic material, ie ancestry
  • .Popular definition of race refers to physical characteristics rather than genetic material itself
.Does race apply to humans?


  • .History of human evolution is characterized by intermingling of neighboring populations
  • .no group is geographically isolated
  • .Nor characterized by uniformity within group
  • .Nor sharply distinct from other groups
  • .Humans are one biological race


  • .even though many societies= social systems contain social catetgories which they maintain are biological
Clinal variation vs races


  • .Gradual shifts in gene frequencies (apparent in physical characteristics) between populations are called clines.
  • .gradual change between characteristics, rather than a sharp one
  • .a continuum of skin tones between dark and light, rather than two distinct categories
  • .Distribution of genes, apparent in physical characteristics, are relatively independent from each other
  • .Clinal variation demonstrates gene flow, rather than isolated populations
  • .Genetic variation?
  • .For skin tone to be useful as a race marker, it would have to represent meaningfulgenetic difference
  • .But other phenotypic traits (such as facial features, hair color and texture, body shape) vary independently of skin tone
  • .Human genetic variation does not correspond to social race
  • .Humans have lived in Africa for most of our evolutionary history; viable genetic variation occurs slowly
  • .Greatest degree of variation among humans is found in Africa; migration of only a portion of human gene pool from Africa to Europe, Asia; little additional variation

genetic difference

.But other phenotypic traits (such as facial features, hair color and texture, body shape) vary independently of skin tone

.Human genetic variation does not correspond to social race

.Humans have lived in Africa for most of our evolutionary history; viable genetic variation occurs slowly

.Greatest degree of variation among humans is found in Africa; migration of only a portion of human gene pool from Africa to Europe, Asia; little additional variation


Race as a social construct


  • .Popular understanding of race is based on culturally variable beliefs and experience
  • .That is rooted in European/North American social hierarchies but described interms of biology
  • .There are no systematic biological differences that correspond with skin tone
  • .When people say Arace@ they mean ancestry, or population, or maybe even ethnic group

.Franz Boas and the dismantling of scientific racism

  • .Linneaus=s scientific categorization of animals and plants (18th c.) combined with ancient Achain of being@


-.Every mineral, plant animal placed in an orderly and fixed hierarchy according to degrees of perfection

  • .This explanation of human variation reflected imperial and mercantile interests:

-.Hierarchically arranged Araces@ justified social order


  • .By early 20th century study of race focused on Acranial index@, esp idea Asmarter@ white Europeans had larger, better formed heads
  • .Useable data because it was more easily measurable than skin tone, and seemingly fixed and heritable
  • .1912: Boas studied 13,000 immigrants and children of immigrants in NYC


  • .Boas found that children=s cranial measures were different from immigrant parents
  • .skull size and shape changed from one generation to the next (improved nutrition?)
  • .children born soon after parents= arrival were different from those born later
  • .Conclusion: while skull shape reflects heredity, differences between populations are not fixed and are shaped by environment

.How do we explain variation in human skin tone?

  • .Historical distribution of skin tones matches sun exposure
  • .Increasingly darker near equator, and lighter near poles


  • .Dark tones near equator:


.-Too much ultraviolet radiation strips away folate, causing problems in fetal development

-.Protects against too much vitamin D which could cause calcium accumulation in organs

.Light tones further from equator:

.-Too little ultraviolet radiation, causes vitamin D deficiency, linked to weak bones, incl pelvic deformities


-.Natural selection


.Genes that give individuals a small reproductive advantage become more frequent in the population over time


-.As individuals with these genes are able to survive to reproductive age, reproduce, and ensure the survival of their offspring

.healthier individuals produce more offspring


  • -.Distribution of ABO blood groups reflect historical distribution of some diseases

-.AA@ less common in populations where smallpox has been common

. because it decreases individuals= resistance to smallpox


-.AO@ less common in Europe

.Because it decreases individuals= resistance to bubonic plague


-But more common in South America

.Resistant to syphilis

  • .Evaluating explanations

.-In order to affect the distribution of genes within a population, environmental pressure needs to affect reproduction


-.Individuals that survive and reproduce successfully are able to transmit their genetic material

.Jablonski: it is unlikely that dark skin evolved to protect individuals from skin cancer





      participant observation and interviews with




   Other women

      Narratives changed over time

   From ideal to real culture


Conflict cycle


      friendly tolerance = distribution to police (incr price to buyers)

      incr pressure from seniors = decr tolerance and eventual ban of artisans

      artisans stop paying because they can no longer earn

      police become violent because of lost income

      seniors step in and negotiate

      Return to initial phase


Performing conflict


      conflict over income distribution was expressed as moral criticism directed at artisans

      Artisans responded with strategies that had both economic and moral component

  Group provides income averaging, defense of territory, also moral guarantee


Adaptive strategies


      “group’s system of economic production” (Kottak, 2006:344), also known as “means of subsistence”

  How a society has adapted to its environment in order to meet its food (subsistence) needs





      Oldest and only adaptive strategy until 10,000 years ago

      Also known as “hunting and gathering,” ie relying on naturally occurring distribution of plant and animal species

      Requires mobility

      Most foragers have limited personal property, flexible social organization, informal and consensual decisionmaking






      Domestication of plants (collecting seeds)


  Uses simple techniques, no irrigation

  Simple tools

  Therefore investment in land is low

      “shifting cultivation”

Villages may or may not shift when new plot is cleared




      More intensive use of land than horticulture

    Animal labor, irrigation, terracing

    Thus increased investment in particular plot

    May produce less on yearly basis, but maintained over much longer period

    Associated with increased emphasis on personal property, incr strength of political/economic institutions

      Overall, more stable and efficient food production than cultivation

    allows community to produces surplus

    Associated with increased inequality

    Also growth of arts and ritual as some people are “freed from production”

    Allows growth of urban areas





      Domestication of animals

   Associated with nomadism

    Transhumance (permanent village, part of population moves with herd) – cattle, sheep, goats

    Pastoral nomadism (whole population moves) – camels, yaks

   pastoralists also engage in gathering/cultivation/ trade with agriculturalists

    Because of lactation cycle (milk production), and to avoid reducing herd (butchering for meat)

   Limited personal property (mobility) but incr institutionalization (herd ownership), some inequality, increased concentration of power at level of herding unit, formal kin or political bonds between units




Adaptive strategies


Adaptive strategies

      “Cultural ecology perspective”: Many similarities between unrelated groups (ie no historical contact) are due to similar adaptive strategies

  Eg: most foraging societies have similar kinship structure, residence rules, political structure, economic structure because these are closely related to success within a particular subsistence strategy


Industrial societies


Industrial societies

      Mechanized manufacture and agriculture


      High levels of inequality associated with very institutionalized property regime, variety of economic and political systems


Economic anthropology


Economic anthropology

      production, distribution, consumption in different societies

  How are these activities organized?

  What factors underlie people’s actions?

Case study: social organization of henna work in Marrakesh

      Why do tourist sector henna workers experience so many conflicts

   especially criticism of their morality from policemen and shopkeepers

   Accessible and well paid work for low income women


1)      Sex

  • i)        based on external genitalia
  • 1.      That reflect categories of male and female associated with XY/XX chromosomal patterns
1)      Intersex

  • (a)    Western understanding of sex is dichotomous system despite variation: Intersexed individuals

1.      Discrepency between internal organs and external organs, true hermaphrodism (both testes and ovaries), undetermined sex (XO


2.      actual chromosomal

distribution (eg Klinefelter=s Syndrome, XXY males)


3.      hormonal disorders (eg XX chromosomes with excessive exposure to male hormones in utero produces female internal organs and  typically masculine external appearance) 

1)      How common is it?(intersex)

1.      1 in 100 people have genitalia that differ from norm


2.      1 in 1000 people have had surgery for this condition (Dreger, 1998)

1)      Sex vs Gender

1)      Sex vs Gender

  • (a)    Gender = Culturally determined and assigned characteristics associated with biological sex

1.      Gender roles = Atasks and activities a culture assigns to the sexes@ (Kottak, 2006:444)


2.      Gender stereotypes = over‑simplified, deterministic view of gender roles

  • (b)   Intersex advocates: Eradicate stigma surrounding difference, increase tolerance of diversity in gender
1.                  Belief systems

1.                  Belief systems

  • a.                   Religion or belief systems?

b.                  Belief systems: The set of theories, practices, and values that address the nature of the world, one’s place in the world, and the nature of one’s connection to it and to others

1.                  Evolution of religion (1871)

1.                  Evolution of religion (1871)

  • i.
  •                     Social evolutionist approaches to religion

b.                  Tylor: religion = ancient explanation of dreaming


  • Humans believed that the body was inhabited by a soul (anima) that was active while dreaming; Death = departure of anima
  • c.                   19th century: belief systems could be ranked in order from least evolved to most evolved.

d.                  Contemporary: don’t evaluate belief systems; instead examine  how they are part of a holistic system.

                  Belief systems and control of anxiety

1.                  Belief systems and control of anxiety (1922)

  • i.                     Functionalist approach

b.                   Bronislaw Malinowski: biological need to control anxiety


          Belief doesn’t replace knowledge but rather enables people to cope with what can’t be known

  • (1)               Eg sports, weather
  • (2)               Malinowski’s Trobriand Island study, use of magic in ocean vs lagoon fishing
  • (3)               Contemporary Maine study, quantitative study of superstitions among inshore vs ocean fishers
                  Belief systems and social control

1.                  Belief systems and social control (1912/1915)

  • i.                     Structural functionalist approach

b.                  Durkheim: organized religion provides

i.                     Social rules and  penalties for infraction


ii.                   Social support


        As well as periodic highly emotional engagement (”effervescecnce”)


And thus creates social cohesion that is necessary for human life in large groups

  • v.                   Worship of divine reinforces human social order
                Belief and rites of passage

1.                  Belief and rites of passage (1967)


i.                     Symbolic approach

  • b.                  Van Gennep, Turner: rites of passage

i.                     In order to understand a society, we should try to understand how its symbols are constructed and linked together

  • ii.                   Rites of passage transform individuals from one social status to another, drawing on and reinforcing important social symbols and values
  • iii.                  Both secular society and organized religious systems have rites of passage
Rite of passage

1.                  Rite of passage

(1)               3 phases:

  1. ii.                   separation from group and from old status
  1. iii.                  liminality: “in-between”, instruction, often physically marked (dress, rules, taboos)
  1. iv.                 reincorporation into community in new status
1.                  Rites of passage

1.                  Rites of passage

  • a.                   Ease social and individual stress associated with life cycle changes
  • b.                  Allows individual to learn new social role, reinforces importance of this role to the community
  • c.                   Rites of passage and other rituals (formal behavior with symbolic content) draw on symbols that are strongly integrated into society

i.                     Eg baptism, wedding, freshman initiation 


Nuclear family


Family orientation


FAmily or procreation 

  • .Nuclear family = parents and children


  • Family of orientation = family in which ego is born


  • Family of procreation = family formed by ego through marriage and reproduction
.Family vs household?

.Family vs household?


  • Household is economic and usually but not always residential unit


  • Members pool most income and share most expenses


  • .Non‑co‑residential households?


.Jatts in North India, Hmong in US ,

university students in Canada?



  • .Socially recognized rather than biological relationship
  • .Pater vs genitor = socially recognized father vs biological father
  • .Descent group: social group with shared rights and responsibilities, incl property, ritual, political leadership


  • .Unilineal descent societies form descent groups through women only (matrilineall societies,  eg Nayar) or men only (patrilineal societies, eg Nuer)
  • .Nonunilineal descent societies may form descent groups through both or either (eg Beng inherit land through women and taboos through men)
  • .Bilateral societies do not have corporate descent groups, and recognize social relationship through both male side (patrilateral kin) and female side (matrilateral kin), eg Canada and US, foraging groups

.Submerged kinship structures

.Formal, recognized structure coexists with informal, tacit structure so that women can have significant role in patrilineal societies and vice versa

.Eg women in Nuer and Jatt societies have significant influence over husbands' decisions to remain or split from brothers


.Nayars (South India, 1940s)


  • .Group membership transmitted through women
  • .but not matriarchal: property controlled by senior male
  • .Gough, 1955: women are perpetual minors, subject to male authority
  • .Polyandrous and polygynous: women have ritual first marriage as well as multiple "visiting husbands" who must be of same or higher caste group; Nayar men have multiple marriages with women of same or lower caste

.Natolocal: individuals reside with family of orientation throughout life


  • .Associated with frequent absences of Nayar men, traditional warrior caste
  • .Decline of this kinship system with decr in military role of Nayars in 1800s, transition to waged and salaried work, transition to neolocality and patrilineal inheritance
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