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Primate
Member of the mammalian order Primates, including prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans, defined by a suite of anatomical and behavioral traits.
Evolution
A change in the frequency of a gene or a trait in a population over multiple generations.
Biological Anthropology
The study of humans as biological organisms, considered in an evolutionary framework; sometimes called 'physical anthropology'.
Hominid
A member of the primate family Hominidae, distinguished by bipedal posture and, in more recently evolved species, large brain.
Adaptation
A trait that increases the reproductive success of an organism, produced by natural selection in the context of a particular environment.
Anthropology
The study of humankind in a cross-cultural context. Anthropology includes the subfields cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, archaeological anthropology (archaeology), and biological anthropology (physical anthropology).
Culture
The sum totoal of learned traditions, values, and beliefs that groups of people (and a few species of highly intelligent animals) possess.
Biocultural Anthropology
The study of the interaction between biology and culture, which plays a role in most human traits.
Paleoanthropology
The study of the fossil record of ancestral humans and their primate kin.
Osteology
The study of the skeleton.
Paleopathology
The study of diseases in ancestral human populations.
Forensic Anthropology
The study of human remains applies to a legal context.
Primatology
The study of the nonhuman primates and their anatomy, genetics, behavior, and ecology.
Human Biology
Subfield of biological anthropology dealing with human growth and development, adaptation to environmental extremes, and human genetics.
Physical Anthropology
The study of humans as biological organisms, considered in an evolutionary framework.
Deduction
A conclusion that follows logically from a set of observations.
Observation
The gathering of scientific information by watching a phenomenon.
Hypothesis
A preliminary explanation of a phenomenon. Hypothesis formation is the first stem of the scientific method.
Experimentation
The testing of a hypothesis.
Scientific Method
Standard scientific research procedure in which a hypothesis is stated, data are collected to test it, and the hypothesis is either supported or refuted.
Data
The scientific evidence produced by an experiment or by observation (qualitative, quantitative), from which scientific conclusions are made.
Falsifiable
Able to be shown to be false.
Paradigm
A conceptual framework useful for understanding a body of evidence.
Immutability (or Fixity)
Stasis; lack of change.
Taxonomy
The science of biological classification.
Binomial Nomenclature
Linaean naming system for all organisms, consisting of a genus and species label.
Taxon
A group of organsisms assigned to a particular category.
Catastrophism
Theory that there have been multiple creations interspersed by great natural disasters such as Noah's flood.
Theory of Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics
Discredited theory of evolutionary change proposing that changes that occur during the lifetime of an individual, through the use or disuse, can be passed on to the next generation.
Uniformitarianism
Theory that the same gradual geological process we observe today was operating in the past.
Adaptive Radiation
The diversification of one founding species into multiple species and niches.
Natural Selection
Differential reproductive success over multiple generations.
Mutation
An alteration in the DNA that may or may not alter the function of a cell. If it occurs in a gamete, it may be passed from one generation to the next.
Intelligent Design
A creationist school of thought that proposes that natural selection cannot account for the diversity and complexity of form and function found in nature.
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