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By Sky Weir

Anthropological Engagements Project

Introduction to Anthropology March 22nd 2024

  • Sets each topic apart while providing smooth transitions
  • Shows the evolution of humans
  • Makes this topic fun!

  • Provides and interactive learning enviroment
  • Summerizes key learning goals of Intro to Anthropology
  • Pulls the veiwer in through using images and interactive material

This Presentaion

General Overveiw

Sky Weir

What is Anthropology

Why do we care

Sub Fields


Sky weir

What is evolution

Charles Darwin

Natural selection

Opposition to teaching this subject

What prompted Evolution

What did others contribute to this theory

Myths regarding Evolution

Overveiw of Slide


Sky weir

How does variation happen

Jeans or Genes

Other mechinisms of evolution

Who is Mandel

Modern Synthesis


Sky Weir

What are primates


Changes in Skeletal structure

Why are there still monkeys

Shared charecteristics

Suborders of primates


How did we get to where we are

How does geograpghical location play into all of this

Dating methods

Fossils? Where?

What do Paleoanthropologists do?

Fossils are ancient remains or traces of organisms found in rocks, which offer insights into past life forms. Paleoanthropologists are scientists who study the human evolution by looking at fossils, artifacts, and other evidence.

Fossils and Paleoanthropologists

Humans were starting to spread out, creating different cultures and languages


Humans created basic tools to enhance their lives


The first humans started to evolve

Early Hominin

Began to walk upright



Chronology of Hominin Evolution

Why are we the last ones standing

Who were the true first Americans?

Why do they get such a bad rap?


Homo Heidelbergensis

Relationship between Humans and Neanderthals

Neanderthals were ancient humans who lived in Europe and Asia, known for their tool-making skills and genetic legacy in modern humans before going extinct around 40,000 years ago.


Are we still evolving

Evolution speed is how quickly genetic changes happen in a population over time, influenced by factors like environmental pressures and genetic diversity.

Evolution Speed

Biocultural evolution examines how biological and cultural factors interact to shape human behavior and adaptation over time.

Biocultural Evolution

Lets wrap this up

Overall Evolution

Charles Darwin, a British naturalist born in 1809, proposed the theory of evolution through natural selection. His groundbreaking work "On the Origin of Species," initially published in 1859 revolutionized the understanding of how species evolved through time. Darwin's theory challenged traditional beliefs and remains a cornerstone of modern biology.

Charles Darwin

The Modern Synthesis, or Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, merged Darwin's theory of evolution with Mendelian genetics.It emerged in the mid-20th century, integrating evolutionary biology with genetics, population genetics, and paleontology.The synthesis explains how genetic variation arises within populations and how natural selection acts on this variation to drive evolutionary change.By reconciling Darwin's ideas with genetics, it laid the foundation for our contemporary understanding of evolution.The Modern Synthesis continues to shape research in evolutionary biology.

Modern Syntheses

Evolution is the process of different living organisms developing and diversifying from earlier forms throughout history. This normally happens through gradual genetic variations that are passed down through generations. This leads to new species and adaptations.Examples:Our opposable thumbs!

What is evolution

Humans have reached their current stage of life through a complex integration of biological, cultural, and technological advancements over millions of years of evolution.

Humans, here and now

The transition from primates to humans involves skeletal changes for bipedalism and increased brain size:Foramen Magnum Position: Shifts centrally in humans to support upright posture.Pelvis Shape: Human pelvis is broader and bowl-shaped for stability.Spine Curvature: Humans have distinct spinal curves for balance.Limb Proportions: Longer legs relative to arms optimize bipedal walking.Foot Structure: Human foot has a longitudinal arch and non-opposable big toe for walking.Hand Structure: Reduced hand robustness with longer thumbs for precision grip.Cranial Capacity: Humans have a larger brain size compared to primates.

Evolution in Skeletal structure

There are a few different methods to find out how old offices are, these different methods include:Relative Dating: Comparing positions in rock layers.Radiometric Dating: Using radioactive decay of isotopes.Biostratigraphy: Dating based on association with index fossils.Paleomagnetic Dating: Analyzing changes in Earth's magnetic field.Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) Dating: Measuring trapped electrons in minerals.Amino Acid Racemization: Assessing decay of amino acids in organic matter.

Dating methods

Paleoanthropologists are scientists who study human change through analyzing fossils, artifacts, and other evidence to explore the origins, behaviors, and adaptations of early humans and their ancestors. Ultimately, we need to understand the development of our species over time.


Monkeys still exist as they have adapted to diverse environments and continue to evolve separately from humans. There are many differnt ways of evolving, with some stayign the same while others change more drastically.

Why do monkeys still exist

Fossils are commonly discovered in sedimentary rocks like cliffs, quarries, and riverbeds, where differnt layers of sediment have preserved the old ancient organisms through time. They can also be found in archaeological sites, where human artifacts and fossils are unearthed.

Fossils? Where?

Both humans and monkeys have opposable thumbs for grasping objects.Primates, including humans and monkeys, typically have forward-facing eyes for depth perception.Large brains relative to body size are characteristic of primates.Social behavior, such as forming groups and establishing hierarchies, is common among primates.Extensive parental care, including nurturing and teaching offspring, is typical in both species.Both have diverse dietary habits, ranging from omnivorous to herbivorous diets.

What do we have in commen with Monkeys?

Anthropology studies human beings, our societies, cultures, and behaviors, both past and present. It encompasses a wide range of subfields, including cultural anthropology, which examines the beliefs, practices, and customs of different societies; archaeology, which investigates past human societies through material remains; biological anthropology, which focuses on human evolution, genetics, and physical characteristics; and linguistic anthropology, which explores language and communication within human cultures. Overall, anthropology seeks to understand the diversity of human experiences and the commonalities that connect us as a species.

What is Anthropology

Geographical location influences fossil studies in several ways:Stratigraphy: Different regions have unique rock layers, aiding in relative dating.Index Fossils: Certain fossils are specific to regions and time periods, aiding correlation.Radiometric Dating: Geological context affects dating accuracy.Environmental Factors: Conditions impact fossil preservation.Tectonic Activity: Geological processes influence fossil distribution and preservation.Understanding these geographical aspects is essential for accurate interpretation of fossil records.


Anthropology has an overview of several subfields, each one focusing on different aspects of human existence over time.Cultural Anthropology: Examines human societies' beliefs, practices, and customs while studying how culture shapes people's lives and behaviors.Archaeology: Looks into past human societies and cultures by analyzing material remains such as artifacts, structures, and landscapes.Biological Anthropology, also known as Physical Anthropology, This studies biological and physical aspects of humans and their ancestors with topics such as human evolution, genetics, primatology, and forensic anthropology.Linguistic Anthropology: Analyzes language and communication within human societies studying how language shapes culture.Applied Anthropology: Utilizes anthropological methods and theories to address contemporary social issues, working in various fields such as development, public health, education, and business. These fields is are extremely relevant in today's world.These subfields complement each other, providing an overall understanding of human beings and their diverse cultures.

SubFields of Anthropology

Gregor Mendel was an Austrian scientist who experimented with pea plants during the 19th century. His work uncovered fundamental principles forming the basis of modern genetics. Mendel's experiments showed how traits are passed from parents to offspring, providing crucial insights into Darwin's mechanisms of evolution.

Mendel and his Peas

Through this overview and dive into what evolution is and how the knowledge came about, we should have an understanding of the following.What evolution is.Who were some key people in this theory.Why do we care about it.How it links to our real-world knowledge.Through these questions we should have a basic understanding of why this is taught and why it is good to have basic background information within this field.

What did we just cover?

Some people oppose teaching evolution due to religious beliefs, misconceptions, ideological reasons, social pressures, and fear of controversy.

Why are people agaisnt this

Evolution is "just a theory": Evolutionary theory is supported by extensive evidence from multiple scientific disciplines.Evolution is based solely on chance: Evolution favors traits that enhance survival and reproduction.Evolution leads to progress or improvement: Evolution does not inherently lead to progress; organisms evolve traits that are better suited to their environments, which may not necessarily be more complex or advanced."Missing links" disprove evolution: Transitional fossils, abundant in the fossil record, provide evidence for evolutionary transitions between species, illustrating the gradual change over time rather than abrupt jumps.

General Myths about evolution

Natural selection is the process by which organisms with traits better suited to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce, passing on those advantageous traits to future generations. Over time, this leads to the adaptation of populations to their environments and the evolution of new species. It is a fundamental mechanism of evolution that shapes the diversity of life on Earth.

Natural Selection

Understanding human diversity: Anthropology reveals the diverse cultures, societies, and behaviors worldwide.Cross-cultural understanding: It promotes empathy and respect for cultural differences which is crucial for global communication.Addressing contemporary issues: Anthropology provides insights and tools for adressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.Exploring human origins: It examines human evolution, genetics, and biological diversity to give you a deeper understanding of where we came from.Cultural heritage preservation: Anthropology documents and preserves cultural heritage for future generations.

Why you should care

Geographic Variation: Different environments and historical contexts lead to diverse cultures and practices across regions.Cultural Variation: Varied beliefs, norms, and customs exist in areas such as religion, family structure, and arts.Historical Variation: Societies evolve over time due to factors like technology, migration, and globalization.Social Variation: Societies differ in social organization, including kinship, politics, and economics.Linguistic Variation: Languages vary widely, shaping cultural expression and communication.Biological Variation: Genetics, environment, and lifestyle contribute to human biological diversity.Interdisciplinary b: Anthropology draws from sociology, biology, history, and other fields for a comprehensive understanding.

Why does Variation happen

Adaptations within humans refer to traits or characteristics that have evolved over time to help us survive and thrive in our environments. Some notable adaptations in humans include:BipedalismLarge BrainOpposable ThumbsSweatingCultural AdaptationsDiverse DietsReduced Jaw SizeLong ChildhoodThese adaptations have played essential roles in human evolution and our ability to survive in differnt environments worldwide.:


Walking on two legs!

Here you can include a relevant fact to highlight

Strepsirrhini: Includes lemurs, lorises, and galagos. They have a moist nose and a tooth comb for grooming.Haplorhini: Includes tarsiers, monkeys, and apes (including humans). They have a dry nose and no tooth comb.

Suborders of Primates

Evolution is prompted primarily by natural selection, where organisms with advantageous traits are more likely to survive and reproduce. Genetic variation, environmental changes, and genetic drift also contribute to evolutionary processes by providing the raw material for natural selection to act upon. Together, these factors drive the adaptation of species to their environments over time.

What started this?

Genetic Drift: Random allele frequency changes in small populations.Gene Flow: Transfer of genetic variation between populations through migration.Mutation: Source of new alleles, driving genetic variation.Non-Random Mating: Preference for specific traits in mate selection.Genetic Recombination: Mixing of genetic material during reproduction.Epigenetics: Changes in gene expression without altering DNA sequence.

Going beyond Natural Selection

Bipedalism is the ability to walk on two legs. It's a defining characteristic of humans and some other primates. This form of movement involves walking upright with the body's weight supported primarily by two rear limbs (legs). Bipedalism enables humans to cover long distances efficiently and frees up the hands for carrying objects and manipulating tools.

What is Bipedalism

Genes are units of heredity containing instructions for an organism's development and traits. They are made of DNA and determine characteristics like eye color and disease susceptibility.

What are genes?

Gregor Mendel (1822-1884): Father of modern genetics, known for discovering the principles of inheritance through his experiments with pea plants.Louis Leakey (1903-1972): Famous paleoanthropologist who, with his wife Mary Leakey, discovered numerous hominid fossils in East Africa, shedding light on human evolutionary history.Jane Goodall (b. 1934): Pioneering primatologist famous for her research on wild chimpanzees, which changed our understanding of primate behavior and emphasized conservation.Margaret Mead (1901-1978) was an influential cultural anthropologist known for her studies on gender roles, child-rearing practices, and cultural diversity, which challenged conventional notions of human behavior.Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913) was an independent supporter of the theory of evolution by natural selection, whose contributions, alongside Darwin's, shaped modern evolutionary biology.

Other Big Names

Primates are a group of mammals that includes humans, apes, monkeys, and prosimians (such as lemurs, lorises, and tarsiers). Characterized by forward-facing eyes, grasping hands and feet, large brains relative to body size, and complex social behaviors. Primates live worldwide, in tropical rainforests and arid savannas. They exhibit a wide range of locomotion, feeding, and communication adaptations, making them one of the most diverse and successful mammalian orders.


We are connected to Neanderthals through interbreeding in our shared evolutionary history. Many people today carry small amounts of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes, indicating past interbreeding between Neanderthals and early modern humans.

Our connection

Some people view Neanderthals negatively due to outdated stereotypes, but modern research shows they were skilled and adaptable hominins.

Negative outlook on Neanderthales

The first true Americans, often called the Paleoamericans or "First Americans", were the ancient peoples who came to the Americas from Asia during the last Ice Age, roughly 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. These early occupants are estimated to have crossed a land bridge called Beringia, which connected present-day Siberia and Alaska. They eventually dispersed and populated North and South America, ultimately creating diverse Indigenous cultures

First true Americans

Modern-day humans, Homo sapiens, the only surviving species of the genus Homo due to our advanced cognitive abilities, technological innovation, and adaptability, which gave us a competitive edge over other hominin species, thus making us the most recent evolutionary product.



Denisovans are ancient human relatives who lived in Asia which is known through genetic evidence found in Siberia's Denisova Cave. It is estimated that they interbred with Neanderthals and early modern humans ultimalty leaving genetic traces in modern populations.

Homo heidelbergensis was an ancient human species that lived in Africa, Europe, and maybe Asia roughly 600,000 to 200,000 years ago. They were talented toolmakers and are considered ancestors of Neanderthals and modern humans.

Homo Heidelbergensis