They seek to discover how evolution has shaped the potentials, tendencies, and limitations of all people.
For many people, paleoanthropology is an exciting scientific field because it investigates the origin, over millions of years, of the universal and defining traits of our species. However, some people find the concept of human evolution troubling because it can seem not to fit with religious and other traditional beliefs about how people, other living things, and the world came to be.
Nevertheless, many people have come to reconcile their beliefs with the scientific evidence. Early human fossils and archeological remains offer the most important clues about this ancient past. These remains include bones, tools and any other evidence such as footprints, evidence of hearths, or butchery marks on animal bones left by earlier people.
Usually, the remains were buried and preserved naturally. They are then found either on the surface exposed by rain, rivers, and wind erosion or by digging in the ground. By studying fossilized bones, scientists learn about the physical appearance of earlier humans and how it changed. Bone size, shape, and markings left by muscles tell us how those predecessors moved around, held tools, and how the size of their brains changed over a long time.
Archeological evidence refers to the things earlier people made and the places where scientists find them. By studying this type of evidence, archeologists can understand how early humans made and used tools and lived in their environments. The process of evolution involves a series of natural changes that cause species populations of different organisms to arise, adapt to the environment, and become extinct.
Is Human Morality a Product of Evolution?
All species or organisms have originated through the process of biological evolution. In animals that reproduce sexually, including humans, the term species refers to a group whose adult members regularly interbreed, resulting in fertile offspring -- that is, offspring themselves capable of reproducing.
Scientists classify each species with a unique, two-part scientific name. In this system, modern humans are classified as Homo sapiens. Evolution occurs when there is change in the genetic material -- the chemical molecule, DNA -- which is inherited from the parents, and especially in the proportions of different genes in a population.
Genes represent the segments of DNA that provide the chemical code for producing proteins. Information contained in the DNA can change by a process known as mutation.
The way particular genes are expressed — that is, how they influence the body or behavior of an organism -- can also change. Evolution does not change any single individual. Instead, it changes the inherited means of growth and development that typify a population a group of individuals of the same species living in a particular habitat. Parents pass adaptive genetic changes to their offspring, and ultimately these changes become common throughout a population.
As a result, the offspring inherit those genetic characteristics that enhance their chances of survival and ability to give birth, which may work well until the environment changes.
Over time, genetic change can alter a species' overall way of life, such as what it eats, how it grows, and where it can live. Human evolution took place as new genetic variations in early ancestor populations favored new abilities to adapt to environmental change and so altered the human way of life.
It then reviews the primatological, fossil, and archaeological data to test these hypotheses. Chase provides readers with a thorough exposition of a view of culture that then serves as the basis for an evaluation of the development of human thought and action.
Animal culture - Wikipedia
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Buy Softcover. FAQ Policy. About this book Paleolithic archaeologists and human paleontologists have failed to address the origins of a phenomenon that is both absolutely central to the human way of life and unique to our species. Show all. Table of contents 6 chapters Table of contents 6 chapters Introduction Pages How is human culture different? Pages Why does culture exist?