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Evolution, Prehistory, and Physical Anthropology

Globalization can be described as a two-edged sword. How does it foster growth and destruction simultaneously?

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Globalization is a process which becomes more and more widespread nowadays. With the development of different means of transport and different communications tools, it becomes easier and easier for globalization to become more important. This notion means “global movement of natural sources, trade goods, human labor finance capital, information, and infectious diseases” (Haviland, Walrath, Prins and McBride 21). However, it has a double nature. It can either lead to great economic growth or slowly destroy different traditional institutions or even bring more threats to our world. The epidemic of ebola is a great example of its influence.

The four evolutionary forces-mutation, genetic drift, gene flow and natural selection- all affect biological variation. Some are at work in individuals while others function at the population level. Compare and contrast these evolutionary forces, outlining their contributions to biological variations.

There are four main sources of evolution. They are genetic drift, gene flow, mutation, and natural selection. Each of them has its own force to influence peoples development. Natural selection is one of the first known forces. It is trying to explain some peculiarities of species, underlining their struggle for existence, skills, and peculiarities obtained in this struggle. Later, with the discovery of genes, the theory of genetic drift was introduced, which stated that genes and their change play a leading role in the process of evolution, while mutation is the main power, which changes certain genes in accordance with the environment.

The frequency of the sickle-cell allele in populations provides a classic example of adaptation on a genetic level. Describe the benefits of this deadly allele. Are mutations good or bad?

With the development of genetics, some alternative variants of genes were discovered. They were called alleles. These alleles determine the existence of a certain peculiarity, which can help species to adapt to certain conditions and survive. However, underlining its positive influence, we should not forget some dangerous mutations which can occur. With the development of genetics, it became clear that some diseases are caused by a change in genes, which is the result of mutation. That is why it can also be very dangerous. Sickle-cell anemia is a bright example of the consequences of such a mutation.

What are the main differences between mammals and reptiles? Do we share any ancestral features with reptiles? What are some of the derived features characteristic of mammals including humans?

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According to the classification of living things, human beings belong to mammals. However, there is a great number of other different categories. The category of reptiles is one of them. The main difference lies in the way different processes proceed. First of all, it is a question of thermoregulation. Mammals regulate the temperature of their body with the help of difficult chemical processes inside their organism, which lead to the discharge of a great amount of heat. Reptiles just accommodate to outer temperature. Moreover, human beings and mammals have another unique feature, which lies in the presence of hair and the way they feed their posterity.

Considering some of the trends seen among the primates, such as increased brain size or fewer teeth, why is it incorrect to say that some primates are more evolved than others? What is wrong with the statement that humans are more evolved than chimpanzees?

According to the presence of some common features, human beings and monkeys belong to one big class of primates. They are characterized by different common peculiarities. Some of them have more developed teeth and hands, while other representatives have a bigger brain. However, it is impossible to say that some primates are more evolved than others. In the process of evolution, they took their arboreal niche, starting to develop peculiarities, which they needed to survive. For example, life on trees developed long arms and good reaction. A constant stream of decisions, which was needed to survive, developed the humans brain. For this reason, each representative of this class is different and evolved in its own way.

Given the variation seen in the specific behaviors of chimp, bonobo, and gorilla groups, is it fair to say that these primates possess culture?

Primates, especially chimpanzees, are always considered to be our ancestors. That is why their behavior is usually very attentively studied. One of the most interesting questions is whether they have their own culture. There is no use denying the fact that primates are social animals. Their behavior serves as the best evidence of it. They have some special rituals for hunting and interaction with other representatives of this kind. Moreover, they also use some tools. With this in mind, it is possible to conclude that primates have their own culture.

Why is dating so important for paleoanthropologists and archeologists? Would an interpretation of physical or cultural remains change depending upon the date assigned to the remains? Why are metaphors used in context of geologic time?

The Discovery of some fossils or remnants is not the end of the process of their study. One of the main issues of this process is the determination of their age, as it is a very important thing to do. There is a great number of different methods to determine the precise age of fossils. Such a great variety can be easily explained by the fact that the right determination is very important. For example, to create a distinct image of human evolution, it is important to know exactly which era certain fossils belong to, as this knowledge determines the order in which human beings obtained new traits.

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Describe the anatomy of bipedalism, providing examples from head to toe of how bipedalism can be “diagnosed” from a single bone. Do you think evidence from a single bone is enough to determine whether an organism from the past was bipedal?

Bipedalism is a very important peculiarity of a human being, which helped it to obtain its modern image. It is such a form of motion when an organism moves with the help of two legs. It is a very significant change for an organism. Each part of its structure is influenced by this change. Moreover, it is possible to determine bipedalism judging only on one bone. It is possible to notice changes influenced by this factor, even on a separated skull. The position of the skull is centered above the spinal column because of the change of position of the center of gravity. It is absolutely possible to determine such peculiarity of an organism basing on this evidence only.

Thought language itself does not “fossilize”, the archaeological and fossil record provide some evidence of the linguistic capabilities of our ancestors. Using the evidence available, what sort of linguistic abilities do you think early Homo possessed?

Different peculiarities of fossils found in different periods of time can give researchers different pieces of evidence of the level of brain development and activity connected with it. Language is a result of brain activity and work of vocal apparatus; that is why it is possible to judge its development basing on fossils. For example, the state of the hypoglossal canal can give a good image of the verbal abilities of our ancestors. Moreover, reduction of jaws and teeth also resulted in appearing of the ability to talk.

Discuss the evidence for the “replacement model” and the “multiregional model” for the origins of modern humans.

There are two models in modern anthropology that try to explain the origins of modern humans. They are the replacement model and multiregional model. They are both based on evidences given by modern genetics and deep investigations of genes. Multiregionalists recognize that our ancestors firstly appeared in Africa and then expatiated upon different territories. However, some new studies of genes found evidence of human moving from Asia to Africa. This fact restarted discussion between two main models.

In what respects is the simple and linear view of the “ascent of man” dated and wrong?

It is widely known that human being descended from apes and anthropology is devoted to investigation of this question. However, it is not so simple as it seemed at the first gaze. Linear view of our ancestor turned out to be not so clear and understandable. With the help of latest tools anthropologists are “replacing the ‘ascent of man’ with a captivating new image of a human family” (Neimark 118). This process stared because of discovery of some new fossils which show false character of previous belief

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What is meant by the “Upper Paleolithic Revolution” and how is it explained? What kinds of finds associated with Neanderthals challenge this view?

It is considered that modern humans appeared 100000 years ago. However, for a very long period of time their life remained almost unchanged, with a very slight development of their lifestyle. Nevertheless, all of a sudden archeologists started to find some fossils dated to 40000 years ago and which served as an evidence of a great change in life of people. This change was called Upper Paleolithic Revolution. However, some finds of fossils associated with Neanderthals can change this idea, as they show some inconsistence it dating.

Works Cited

Haviland, William, Dana Walrath, Harald Prins and Bunny McBride. Evolution and Prehistory: The Human Challenge. Cengage Learning: Boston, 2013. Print.

Neimark, Jill. “Meet the New Human Family”. Physical Anthropology. 23. (2013): 118-123. Print.

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