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As we all know all human being have a tendency to know about the origin of all things especially the origin of themselves(Gilligan, 2003).Physical Anthropology is a field which is related to this. Biological anthropology or physical anthropology is a field of anthropology that learns the intricacies of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, adaptability of human beings and variations, primatology (study of primates), primate morphology, and the fossil history of the evolution of humans (Physical Anthropology ,2007).
Physical anthropology was evolved during the early 19th century, before the rising of Charles Darwin's various theories of evolution and Alfred Russel Wallace's theory of natural selection and also Gregor Mendel's discoveries in the field of genetics. Physical anthropology was called by that name since all of its information was physical like fossils, particularly human bones etc. With the evolution of Charles Darwin’s theory and the sophisticated synthesis, anthropologists were equipped with access to latest modes of information, and many of them started calling themselves "physical anthropologists."
Certain special primitive branches of physical anthropology, like some of the early learning in the field of anthropometry, faced severe critical comments. Metrics like the cephalic index were generally used to analyze behavioral methodologies(Gilligan, 2003).Cephalic index can be defined as the ratio of the maximum width to maximum length of the head that is, in the horizontal strata, or front to back, sometimes multiplied by 100 for convenience. It was popular among the anthropologists in the early 20th century to analyze human population and also by Carleton S. Coon during 1960s.
Physical anthropology’s main interest areas include the science of human biological origins, evolution, and variation. Actually the field concentrates on four areas: a. Evolutionary theory, b. Human’s position with respect to the nature, c. evolution of human beings, and d.biological variation of humans
So we can say that biological anthropology then, is an interesting combination of social studies and biological learning; many other ingredients make it more and more amusing. The two important concept fields that always tend to bind physical anthropology together are the study of evolution and man’s biosocial variation; there are several topics that come under these two concept areas.
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In order to understand how human beings evolved from primitive life forms, it is essential to look at man’s closest relatives, the primates (Gilligan, 2003). Primates consist of Homo sapiens i.e. human beings, the apes, the gorillas, and prosimians, like the lemur. We can understand about primate characteristics by learning them in the wild, like Jane Goodall studied about the chimpanzees in African forests, or by learning about them in little captive colonies. These learning by primatologists are essentially significant now because lots of primates are endangered species, and our information of their behavior and environment may aid them, and us, to prevail in the future.
We can utilize the help from archaeology to remove the cover of the skeletal remains of our ancestors from the early lives. The exciting discoveries of human paleontology which means the study of fossils have forced back our ancestry as tool-using human beings who moved using the two legs to many million years ago(Bakan,1966). As per the findings of Louis Leakey, our early human ancestors probably hunted and searched for food in the continent of Africa very long before North America , South America and Australia were populated by human beings. Although we have studied a large deal about our ancestry within the past few decades, we are far from having a vivid picture of our history of evolution, and there is still a large deal to learn.
The information that physical anthropologists collect on living populations falls into many overlapping sections. As we explore again we can see that, evolution and biosocial variation are root themes in learning associated with nutrition, child nurturing, social health, the genetics of human group, and theory of adaptability or adjustment to one’s environment. For instance, we try to comprehend how Eskimos have survived in the unpleasantly stern cold weather of the Arctic using intelligent behavioral adaptations as well as physical adaptations. As another instance, the presence of a foreign ailment in New Guinea natives led to the discovery of a whole new group of infectious living things, and its discoverer, Dr. Carlton Gajdusek got the Nobel Prize that year.
Now if take the profession of physical anthropology we can say that it is a profession that is stimulating and satisfying by means of enriching experiences. Many things make the lives of professional physical anthropologists very interesting. It involves the enjoyment of scientific research, with new questions to be answered and discoveries to be made. Usually, most biological anthropologists perform their research work in what we can call called the "site," outside the conventional laboratory (Bakan, 1966). Field research can take place in relatively exotic places like as Latin America, Africa, etc and anywhere an interesting biological issue has been identified. The "field" is actually worldwide and a broad one!
While few high schools offer courses particularly in physical anthropology, several have courses in anthropology or teach anthropology in social studies classes. Anthropology Programs are there at lots of universities and colleges everywhere in most of the countries, and many have courses in physical anthropology alone. In short we can say that physical anthropology is an ultimate answer to the major questions concerning the complex human species: "What are human beings?" "What are the similarities and differences we hold with other animals?" "Where is our actual origin?" "How complex was our evolution process?" "Are we still in the process of evolving?" "What is the difference between each human beings?" and "What evolution is going to take place in the future of the human species?"