What is Anthropology?

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  2. February 15, 2013 7:38 pm

What is Anthropology?

Anthropology is an integrated scientific study of humans and humanity. It examines the origins, evolution and current conditions of human beings. The field of anthropology is comprised of four sub fields. The first sub field is archaeology. Archaeology looks for answers to the questions of human behavior by analyzing non-human physical evidence left behind by people of an area or time. Such physical evidence is found in the form of projectile points, hearths and structures. An example of archaeological study would be analyzing a site with arrow heads, pottery shards and woven baskets. The archaeologist attempts to determine how and when the site was used by humans. Archaeology has numerous sub fields as well including the study of plant pollen and ancient animals.

A second sub field of anthropology is cultural. These anthropologists attempt to answer the same questions by studying living groups of people. They conduct ethnographies to learn how a group of people live in different areas of the world. They also study why people do things the way they do. Cultural and archaeological anthropologists often work together to answer the same questions from different perspectives.

Physical anthropologists research the evolutionary origins of human beings. They extensively study the origins of bipedal walking and brain development. Physical anthropology also works well with the other sub fields through DNA research. Physical anthropologists are now able to add another level of knowledge with regard to when people moved around the world by tracing unique DNA identifiers throughout the human population.

Finally, linguistic anthropology studies the origins and uses of language. They also complement the overall field of anthropology by being able to establish connections between various people of the world through language similarities.

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