why do anthropologists study human anatomy?

i need to know why do anthropologist study the anatomy ands the genetic variation of humans. is it for clues of intellectual achievement? to learn of ancient people?or to learn of racial supremacy?

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    It has to do with finding remains, dating them, knowing what type of bone, body part, or even if the remains are human or not. Also, to reassemble the bones into a semblance of whatever it may have been when it was alive.

  • I would have to say no, anthropologists study anatomy for none of those reasons.
    First, you have to understand that bio-anthropologists study bones and genetics, cultural anthropologists, the ones who study civilizations, do not generally work with human anatomy. Archaeologists, who study ancient peoples, also don’t generally work with human remains, unless they are the sort who specialize in specifically that, which is more of a meeting between the biological field and the archaeological one.

    There are many things which can be learned from remains, such as what the diets of the individuals were like, how they looked, how old they were, how and when they died, how they were buried (if they were buried), how they grew, how tall they were, what sorts of diseases they may have had in life, in what sort of activities they took part on a regular basis, etc. Such things, when taken as a whole, provide insight into what a life was like and, expanding on that, how a society lived. Those concerned with evolution follow the changes in structure over time, determining which features of modern humans evolved when and what sort of factors might have lead to these changes and which groups of people may have split off from others and when. These studies usually have to do with origins of groups of people and how certain groups ended up where they ended up and clues us in to migration patterns of the past which might otherwise be lost to us.

    Biological anthropologists also study living people, measuring them, investigating which ones are related to which others, which ones are of a higher social class than others and the such, thus providing, once again, an organized, examined view of how this culture operates.

    Forensic anthropologists study remains in order to identify the remains and determine cause of death in criminal cases. There are indicators on skulls, for example, which, when measured can sometimes provide a clue to the area of the world in which an individual’s ancestors evolved, which might be able to provide a clue to the individual’s skin color, which, along with facial features, can help reconstruct what the individual might have looked like, thus making it easier to match up with a missing persons profile.

  • David T

    Anthropologist study human anatomy for several reasons.
    Physical evolution of a species is one reason. How has man adapted to different enviroments and conditions. For instance, you may know that back in the middle ages the plague killed a huge percentage of the population of Europe, but did you also know that people with the blood type "B", had a natural resistance? Did you know that in malaria infected areas of Africa, people with the condition sickle cell have an immunity to the desease? Anthropologist discover these things while studying anatomy, and then they can apply this knowledge to the bigger picture and track trends in evolution of the species.
    In regards to intellectual achievement, the question has more to do with resources, adaptations, enviromental conditions. Does eating a diet rich in protein eventually lead to larger brains? When ancient man began eating more meat, did this lead to a larger brain and more brain function? How about body structure? If you live in a very hot enviroment you are more likely to be tall and thin, which is the bodies way of adapting and protecting against the heat. If you are in a cold enviroment you will be shorter and rounder, which is your body adapting to conserve heat and protect you from the cold.
    Also, anatomy runs a cultural course as well. You only need to look at Art work over the centuries to see how peoples ideas of beauty and what is acceptable have changed over the years.
    What is beautiful to one culture maybe ugly or even taboo to another, and our anatomy changes over time to follow these trends.

  • Dick Skinner

    There’s nothing supremacy or ‘tracing the ubermensch’ about why they study this. The study of genetic variation is an excellent way of tracking the migration patterns and geneology of a group of people. In ancient times, Race was even more indicative of culture, and geographical location.
    For example, if genetic markers for africans show up in peoples of Asia, but NOT Europeans It’d be a sign that early humans somehow migrated from africa to asia. (we’re talking ancient temains dna tracking) Knowing the racial lineage of a people is also a way of understanding the cultural lineage of a people. Fact is, genetics will identify a race, but racial features result from physical adaptations to climate.

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