DSST Anthropology as a Discipline

The basic concept is that environmental conditions or

Info icon This preview shows pages 5–7. Sign up to view the full content.

The basic concept is that environmental conditions (or "nature") determine (or "select")how well particular traits of organisms can serve the survival and reproduction of the organism; organisms lacking these traits might die before reproducing, or be less fecund. As long as environmental conditions remain the same, or similar enough that these traits continue to be adaptive, such traits will become more common within populations. Natural Selection is a key mechanism that might explain how evolution took place. A famous example of natural selection is how in England, when certain areas of the country became heavily industrialized, the pale bark of trees in those regions became coated with black soot. Light-colored moths, formerly well adapted to blend with their environment, became clearly visible against the sooty background of the trees and were easy prey for birds. Darker moths, previously at a disadvantage against the light bark, were now better adapted for survival. Their dark color became an advantage, and subsequently the darker moths became the predominant variety in the industrial regions. According to Charles Darwin 's theory of organic evolution , plants and animals all evolved over a long period of time from simple into more complex life forms. Darwin believed that every species produced many more offspring than can possibly survive, resulting in intense competition among individuals for limited resources. Survivors adapted to their environment through chance genetic mutations which were passed on through inheritance. Social Darwin ism is the concept of "survival of the fittest society." Social Darwinism, combined with the popular idea that the United States had an obligation to spread political liberty, Christianity, and civilization to the rest of the world helped encourage and rationalize United States expansion and involvement in world affairs. Known as the Father of Modern Anthropology, Franz Boas is noted for applying the scientific method to the study of human cultures and societies. Boas was a leading opponent of the evolutionists, who he believed made too many assumptions based on too little data. Boas stressed the need to conduct anthropological research based only on facts and to distrust any expectations. Genetic drift is another mechanism by which evolutionary changes may occur. It can be defined as the apparently random variation of certain gene frequencies under special conditions of small population size
Image of page 5

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

or of isolation or both. Also called the Sewall Wright effect and non-Darwinian evolution, it has been the subject of considerable controversy. Genetic drift is used to refer to various random processes that affect gene frequencies in small, relatively isolated populations. It is also known as the Sewall Wright effect. One variety of genetic drift occurs when a small population recently derived from a larger one expands in relative isolation. Called the founder effect, this process might occur,
Image of page 6
Image of page 7
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern