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BANC-101: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

BANC-101: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BANC 101/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BANC-101

Assignment Name: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Sections in the Assignment. Answer all the questions in all the three sections.


Assignment –I


Answer the following questions in about 500 words each. 20x2


a. Define Physical/biological Anthropology. Discuss its aims and scope

Ans) The study of physical anthropology, commonly referred to as biological anthropology, considers the human body, genetics, and place of man amid other living things. This area of anthropology is primarily concerned with the evolution, diversity, and adaptability of people. As the name suggests, it examines the physical traits of humans utilising basic biological principles and the discoveries of various biological disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, embryology, zoology, palaeontology, and more.


Primatology, Palentology, Human Genetics, Growth and Development, and Forensic Anthropology are just a few of the many subfields that make up physical anthropology. Many academic research areas in physical anthropology have become specialised specialties in recent years. The fields of molecular anthropology, physiological and nutritional anthropology, and human population genetics may be mentioned.



The descriptive phase of the field, marked by anthropometric measurements, index classification, and statistical computation, is symbolised by the old physical anthropology. Until genetics and its applications in the explanation of evolutionary theory emerged, this approach with a focus on taxonomy remained static. As a result, the goal of old physical anthropology was primarily classification, with the assumption that describing the differences would be sufficient for solving the problem.


On the other hand, classification has a little part in the new physical anthropology, which is concerned with understanding the processes and mechanisms involved in the issue. The new physical anthropology therefore picks up where the old leaves off, with the goals and interests of both traditions being the same, while the emphasis of the new physical anthropology is on reorientation in methodology, comprehension, and interpretation.


The subject of who the earliest members of the human species were and how they changed into their current shape is answered by physical anthropology. They identify the various stages and mechanisms during the course of evolution. In order to comprehend modern man, human palaeontologists rebuild the skeletons of extinct species who may have been our ancestors. The evolution of primates and hominids is investigated by paleoanthropologists using the fossil record and information gleaned from comparative anatomy.



Physical and biological anthropology is no longer just an academic field; in recent years, there has been a growing appreciation for what anthropology has learned about and can learn about people. Physical anthropology now has new directions to explore thanks to recent advances in the discipline. Physical anthropology's global reach is best defined within the context of the traditions upheld throughout its many stages of development.


These schools of thought are sometimes referred to as "old or classical" and "new or analytical" physical anthropology. Since Washburn first used the term "New physical Anthropology" in 1951, the study of man has advanced significantly. Physical anthropology is generally recognised as the science of comparing man as a physical organism to his entire environment, including social, cultural, and physical factors. Because the development of man's physical and cultural factors depends on the environment in place at the time, physical anthropology provides a crucial anthropological perspective.


Human diversity, a branch of physical anthropology, considers human taxonomy, which is the study of races from an anthropological point of view. Through variables such as mutation, gene recombination, chromosomal changes, isolation, genetic drift, social selection, and more, the genetic diversity exhibited in various racial groupings can be investigated.


b. Briefly discuss racialization of humans.

Ans) The idea of race gradually expanded from a genealogical perspective to include a burgeoning "biologization" trend. Lineage-based thinking gave way to a naturalist approach in the concept's history, which was initially applied to humans before being applied to the rest of the animal kingdom (Hoquet, 2014). The voyages of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries introduced Europeans to a wide range of new cultures, and eventually academics developed an interest in the challenge of bringing order to the surprising diversity of peoples they encountered.


Francois Bernier

Francois Bernier, a traveller from France, provided the first taxonomy of the human races. An unnamed article by Francois Bernier titled "A New Division of the Earth, according to the Different species or Races of Men Who Inhabit It" was published in the journaldes scavans of the French Academy of Sciences in 1684.


Although this little bit of writing has been credited with being the first to present the current concept of race, it is typically only regarded as an interesting side note (Boulle, 2003). The third species includes Asians, who have broad shoulders, a flat face, a short squab nose, little pig-like eyes that are large and deep set, and a beard with only three hairs. The fourth species is the Lapps. They are tiny, elongated beings with thick legs, broad shoulders, a short neck, and an enormously extended face.


Carl Von Linnaeus

Carl Von Linnaeus provided the first accurate classification of human races, which was published in the tenth edition of Systema Naturae in 1758. This taxonomy system, which was based on the criterion of skin colour, served as the basis for racial classification in the nineteenth century. In 1735, the first edition of Systema Naturae claimed four different species of Homo: Africanus, Asiaticus fusc us, Americanus rules, and Europaeus labels (black). After 1735, this edition underwent numerous revisions and changes over the remainder of the eighteenth century.


The idea of hierarchy and inequality is one of the unstated pillars on which Linnaeus' taxonomy is based, according to an analysis of it. There was a definite Eurocentric slant in many of the personality and cultural attributes he employed. The Judeo-Christian idea of the "great chain of being" or "ladder of creation" had an influence on Linnaeus's classification system, which was arranged in a linear hierarchy. From the smallest and most simple life forms to the most complex, all of God's creatures were imagined to be arranged in a linear way, similar to the links in a chain or the rungs of a ladder.


Comte de Buffon

G. L. L. Comte de Buffon first used the term "race" in natural history literature in 1749. Buffon understood the distinction between species—which could not reproduce by mating with one another—and varieties—which could. Similar to Linnaeus, Buffon believed that Homo sapiens had a single beginning and that racial distinction occurred later, after the human population had grown and dispersed throughout the world. Buffon, who believed that all people belonged to the same species, classified people into groups such as Lapps, Mongolians, Southern Asians, Europeans, Ethiopians, and Malays.


Climate, food, soil, air, and other elements of the local environment, in accordance with Buffon, had a direct impact on human morphology and physiology. As a result, disparities in racial type, especially in skin tone, are easily attributable to environmental factors. The geographic location of objects was the main organising principle of Buffon's classification system.


Assignment –II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x2


a. Write short notes on any two of the following


i. Criticism of Lamarckism/Criticism of Darwinism

Ans) Lamarckism faced harsh criticism since his theories about evolution were widely rejected. One of the tenets, inheritance of acquired traits, has drawn much controversy. German biologist August Weismann (1890) refuted the idea that acquired traits are passed down through the generations through his studies on mice. For more than 20 generations, he removed the white mice's tails, measuring the length of the tail in the following generation. The length of the tail was discovered to be typical across all generations. Since the acquired character was not inherited, he thought. Protoplasm was divided into somatoplasm and germplasm by Weismann. While germplasm is found in sex cells, somatoplasm is found in somatic cells.


A significant part of heredity is played by the germplasm. Weismann demonstrated that only changes that occur in the germplasm of an organism are transmitted, not the changes that occurred in the somatic cells of an organism. He claims that although there is a tendency for size to expand, evolution frequently results in size reduction. Neo-Lamarckian held that adaptations are a universal phenomenon. Due to their adjustments to altered environmental conditions that affect the somatic cells, organisms acquire new structures.


Additionally, those who are continuously reading or writing and who use their eyes more than others frequently get vision problems. Why don't their eyes develop into more effective ones? Lamarck's theory that new organs form in areas where organisms perceive a need for them was also criticised. If the desire determines the creation of a new organ or structure, then why has man, who has long wished to fly like birds, not acquired wings?


ii. Adaptive Radiation

Ans) Adaptive radiation is a process in evolutionary biology when organisms rapidly diverge into a wide variety of different forms, especially when a change in the environment makes new resources available, presents new obstacles, and opens up environmental niches. An adaptive radiation can be recognised by four characteristics:

  1. Component species' shared heritage, specifically a recent ancestry. Keep in mind that this is not the same as a monophyly, which includes all of an ancestor's descendants.

  2. A phenotype-environment correlation is a strong correlation between physical and physiological features that are employed to exploit surroundings and the environments themselves.

  3. Trait utility: The benefits of a trait's values in terms of performance or fitness in a given environment.

  4. Rapid speciation: The formation of new species in one or more bursts at or near the moment of ecological and phenotypic divergence


Any evolutionary group of animals, whether at the level of a species, genus, or super family, may experience a rapid rise in numbers and types as a result of environmental changes and the utilisation of a number of new locations in the planetary living space due to adaptive radiation. These environmental locations are referred to as niches and eco-niches.


However, adaptive radiation, according to Simpson, is the quick diversification of new species from a single ancestor group. During adaptive radiation, a species transforms into increasingly diverse organisms. When the external environment changes quickly, the offspring of a same species may evolve to take advantage of many various habitats and chances. As a result, different animals may develop from the same ancestral form.


iii. Biological Anthropology and Biomedical Research

Ans) Anthropology The study of racial and ethnic differences in human biology is a major focus of biological anthropology in particular. In epidemiologic and public health studies today, it is much more usual to compare the frequency of risk factors for different diseases and health outcomes among members of diverse racial and ethnic groups.


Health differences between racial and ethnic groupings are taken into account when these comparisons are done. In fact, one of the two main objectives of the US Department of Health and Human Services' (USHHS) "Healthy People 2010" initiative was the eradication of health disparities among population groups, including distinctions based on gender, race or ethnicity, income or education, disability, location or geographic location, or sexual orientation.


The quantification and explanation of health outcomes, particularly health disparities, are impacted by the inclusion of race or ethnicity in epidemiologic and public health research. Despite the fact that some scientists have questioned the usefulness of utilising race and ethnicity as independent variables. The intention of methodological guidelines was to increase the integrity of these variables. Studies on racial and ethnic groups make it abundantly evident that there is no scientific consensus over their use.


To maintain the objectivity of race and ethnicity as factors in science, continued professional commitment is required. Researchers should, at the very least, disclose the context in which these crucial epidemiologic and public health research variables are being employed, how they were measured, and any important findings. It would also encourage the successful development of intervention strategies targeted at eradicating health disparities related to race and ethnicity. Doing so will ensure continuous positive scientific debate concerning the interpretation of findings relating race or ethnicity.


Answer any two of the following questions in about 150 words each. 5x2


a. Characteristics of Modern Human Skull

Ans) The Characteristics of Modern Human Skull are as follows:

  1. Mandible is small, chin is prominent.

  2. zygomatic arch gap that allows the jaw muscles to pass through.

  3. Reduced jaw muscles due to lack of sagittal crest.

  4. vertical face without a muzzle or snout.

  5. No brow ridges, vertical forehead.

  6. large size of brain (cranium capacity). specifically, the frontal and occipital areas enlarged, related


Features which show the transition from an archaic to an early modern Homo sapiens include a more rounded and expanded braincase and a high forehead. Now dated to the same age as Omo 2, it does raise interesting questions about why it appears to have slightly more advanced features than Omo 2.


c. Archaeological Anthropology

Ans) The science of archaeological anthropology is concerned with finding and researching artefacts from human history. Through the recovery and examination of physical remains and environmental data, it explores human cultures. Prehistoric, protohistoric, and civilization are some of the main time periods covered by archaeology. Tools, pottery, hearths, and enclosures, as well as human, plant, and animal remain, some of which date back 2.5 million years, are among the tangible artefacts that archaeologists examine.


The field of archaeological anthropology also includes the study of ancient societies and cultures. Anthropologists attempt to reconstruct the way of life of persons who either left no written records or left some writing that has yet to be translated. The study of modern cultures through the lens of their sociocultural practises that date back to prehistoric times is another benefit of archaeological anthropology.

Assignment –III


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x3


a. Describe any one instrument used in somatometry.

Ans) Somatometry, a subfield of anthropometry, is the methodological methodology for measuring a living body, including the head and face. Different types of measurements exist, including weight measurements, skinfold measurements, girth measurements, and linear measurements. Once more, certain linear measurements are rather large, while others are quite small. As a result, many instrument types made especially for taking measurements of various kinds are employed in somatometry.


The majority of the measurements are made between landmarks. It is always required to be familiar with the meanings of the landmarks, to locate them precisely, and to take the measurement properly using standardised methods and specialised equipment. The subject may be asked to sit for some measurements, and in some situations, measurements may be done while the subject is standing. When taking paired measures, the left side is typically chosen since it is less likely to be altered by a variety of causes, such as occupational deformity, change brought on by additional work, etc. But occasionally it's vital to compare both sides, particularly when comparing bilateral asymmetries.


When measuring using a spreading or sliding calliper, care should be given to avoid applying excessive pressure to the skin; instead, delicately contact the landmark with the instrument's tip. Furthermore, while using the tape, no pressure should be applied. Even though the majority of measurements are made directly, there are times when certain measurements can be made indirectly by taking one measurement out of another or adding two or more measurements. There are occasions when personal mistakes are acceptable. Martin states that the following error ranges in various measures are permissible: 0.5 to 1.0 mm for the head, 2.0 mm for the head height, 3.0 to 5.0 mm for the majority of the body, and 10.0 mm for stature and spread.


b. Differentiate between morphological facial height and physiognomic facial height.

Ans) Professor of Anatomy Anders Retzius is credited with creating the first categorization based on cranial anatomy (1840). Retzius classified people with long skull shapes as belonging to the genus dolichocephalies, and those with short skull shapes as belonging to the genus brachycephalies. He didn't utilise the intermediary term mesocephalic, which was developed later, and neither did he assign any numerical values to define the borders between particular forms in either category.


The metrics employed by Retzius are known as the cephalic index when applied to living persons and as the cranial index when applied to dry skulls. These indices are generated by calculating the ratio of the head's maximum width to its maximum length. After that, the idea was improved with the introduction of intermediate values, which offer a system of classification and more precisely portray the variety of human facial morphology. Therefore, measurements pertaining to the shape of the skull include both the cephalic and cranial indices.


The facial index, which is calculated by dividing the morphological facial height, measured from the Nasion (N) to Gnathion (Gn) anatomical landmarks, by the bizygomatic width, measured from the right to the left Zygion, is the index used in anthropometry to define the proportions of the face (Zyr-Zyl). The phrases employed in the facial index are semantically related to the Greek word prosopon, which is used to describe the face. This categorization method assigns numbers to the categories that define euryprosopic, mesotrophic, and lipotropic vision. The Ainu are thought to have been the first people to live in Japan and were compelled to move up north. They currently live on the northern Japanese islands of Hokkaido and Sakhalin.


c. What is somatoscopy? Record observation on nose forms and lip forms 10 people.

Ans) The description of morphological physical characteristics of people based on visual observation of morphological attributes is known as somatoscopy and corresponds to this method. The visual evaluation of physical characteristics is done in reference to a set of standardised observations, which also introduces some subjectivity.


These visual observations include things like skin tone, hair colour, eye colour, face shape, lip shape, and eye and nose colour. Biological anthropology's goal of understanding human variation and identifying shared morphological characteristics for a group of people, a community, or an ethnic group is furthered by the study of somatoscopic observations (Somatoscopic Observation, n. d.).


From the early 1800s to 1950, anthropometry and visual features were the main topics of human variation research (somatoscopy). Other characteristics and mechanisms, such as serology and dermatoglyphics, received less attention. The immunologist W. C. Boyd asserted in 1950 that measurement- and qualitative-trait-focused approaches to classic investigations of human variation are no longer relevant. In order to examine human differences, he favoured the use of serological traits (such as ABO, Rh, and MN blood group antigens) and other characteristics.


Phenotypes are these characteristics, such as the ABO blood types. The observable physical trait or characteristic of a person is referred to as phenotype. These phenotypes are the genetic genotype's immediate offspring. A person's genotype is their genetic make-up in relation to just one characteristic. Several loci were identified during the 20th century, and the frequencies of numerous unique alleles were determined from numerous human groups.

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