Via 100 entries or "mini-chapters," 21st Century Anthropology: A Reference Handbook highlights the most important topics, issues, questions, and debates any student obtaining a degree in the field of anthropology ought to have mastered for effectiveness in the 21st century. This two-volume set provides undergraduate majors with an authoritative reference source that serves their research needs with more detailed information than encyclopedia entries but in a clear, accessible style, devoid of jargon, unnecessary detail or density.Key Features- Emphasizes key curricular topics, making it useful for students researching for term papers, preparing for GREs, or considering topics for a senior thesis, graduate degree, or career.- Comprehensive, providing full coverage of key subthemes and subfields within the discipline, such as applied anthropology, archaeology and paleontology, sociocultural anthropology, evolution, linguistics, physical and biological anthropology, primate studies, and more.- Offers uniform chapter structure so students can easily locate key information, within these sections: Introduction, Theory, Methods, Applications, Comparison, Future Directions, Summary, Bibliography & Suggestions for Further Reading, and Cross References.- Available in print or electronically at SAGE Reference Online, providing students with convenient, easy access to its contents.
Chapter 1: 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 ...