Chapter 1: Biological Anthropology Next Chapter

H. James Birx

In: 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 1: Biological Anthropology

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Biological Anthropology
Biological anthropology

Anthropology is the scientific study of humankind (Birx, 2006a). It strives for a comprehensive understanding of and proper appreciation for our species within the earth's history. As such, anthropology is grounded in the empirical facts of the special sciences and the logical argumentation of critical thought. Furthermore, scientific evidence is supplemented with rational speculation, especially when facts are lacking. Ongoing advances in science and technology continuously add new information to the growing discipline of anthropology, thereby strengthening some concepts and hypotheses, while modifying or dismissing others.

Besides incorporating the scientific method, anthropologists view the natural history of humankind within an evolutionary framework (Fortey, 1998; Hublin, 2006; Mayr, 2001). Our species is seen as a product of organic evolution in general, and primate history ...

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