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BANC-106: Human Ecology: Biological and Cultural Dimensions

BANC-106: Human Ecology: Biological and Cultural Dimensions

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for BANC-106 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Human Ecology: Biological and Cultural Dimensions, you have come to the right place. BANC-106 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BSCANH courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BANC 106/ASST/TMA/2021-2022

Course Code: BANC-106

Assignment Name: Human Ecology: Biological and Cultural Dimensions

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Sections in the Assignments. You have to answer all questions.


Assignment – I


Answer the following in about 500 words each. (20)


Q 1. Define human ecology and discuss its scope.

Ans) The word ecology is derived from the Greek words oikos, which means "house," and logos, which means "discussion" or "research." As a result, it entails a study of creatures' habitats.


The study of people interactions with their environments, or the distribution and abundance of humans, is known as human ecology. Human ecology is a two-commitment approach to the study of human behaviour. To begin with, human ecologists believe that humans should be studied as living systems in complicated contexts. Second, human ecologists believe that humans are subject to ecological and evolutionary processes that are quite similar to those of other species.

Human ecology is a two-commitment approach to the study of human behaviour. The word ecology is derived from the Greek words oikos, which means "house," and logos, which means "discussion" or "research." Ecology can be studied in terms of animals or plants, resulting in animal ecology and plant ecology.


One of the three major fields of biological anthropology is human ecology. Ecology is a fundamental branch of biology. A population is the total number of organisms from the same group or species that dwell in a given geographic area and can interbreed. A community is a social unit or a collection of living creatures that share shared values, conventions, practises, or religion. The entire biotic community in a specific area, as well as its abiotic surroundings, is referred to as an ecosystem. Food webs are fundamental units because energy and nutrient flows occur around them. Man, like any other species, is a part of the environment.


Scope Of Human Ecology

When we examine the population patterns (demography) of our own species, as well as the food and fossil energy flowing through our society, we may often gain a good understanding of human cultures from an ecological standpoint. Humans appear to be altering the global ecosystem in a variety of ways. As a result, human ecology may be very beneficial in helping us understand what these changes are, what the ramifications for diverse ecosystems might be, and how we might engage in human economics or nature to try to alleviate or otherwise influence these changes. Many ecologists feel that these apparent alterations caused by human activities have the potential to do significant harm to both natural ecosystems and human economy. Understanding, forecasting, and adjusting to these difficulties may be the most critical issue humans will ever face. Ecology and environmentalism can be synonymous in this scenario.


Man, like any other species, is a part of the environment. The challenges of various kinds, whether economic, political, or other policies, are all linked to ecology in some way. Production of cereals, livestock, lumber, fibre, fish, flowers, pest management, wildlife conservation, and so on are all examples of ecological issues. In agriculture, ecology is very important. Crop rotation, weed control, grassland management, forestry, and biological surveys are all well-solved problems in ecology. Problems and consequences of waste disposal, pollution of air, water, and land, habitat destruction, sea productivity and contamination, and radioactive pollution.


Q 2. Describe the concept of cultural ecology.

Ans) The study of human adaptations to social and physical contexts is known as cultural ecology. Biological and cultural processes that enable a population to survive and reproduce in a given or changing environment are referred to as human adaptation. Ecology is the study of how living things interact with their surroundings. The study of the relationships and interactions between humans, their biology, their cultures, and their physical environments is known as human ecology. Human Ecology, a renowned journal in the discipline, is named after the word. Ecological anthropology (which incorporates a lot of biological anthropology) and environmental anthropology are two branches of human ecology.


There are several detailed treatments on the subject accessible. Human Adaptive Strategies: Ecology, Culture, and Politics is the most outstanding. The title alludes to Bates' integration of the field around the principles of adaptability and strategy, as well as his grounding in fresh information. Environmental Anthropology, by Patricia Townsend, was a brief but exceptionally well-targeted review that covered much the same ground from a very similar point of view, but at an introductory level. Bates and Susan Lees, long time editors of Human Ecology, have also published Case Studies in Human Ecology, a collection of articles from that journal. Environmental Anthropology: A Historical Reader, edited by Michael Dove and Carol Carpenter, and The Environment in Anthropology, edited by Nora Haenn and Richard Wilk, are two more notable readers. The first contains important articles from throughout the history of cultural ecology and environmental anthropology, while the second concentrates on more recent work.


Human ecologists look at a variety of topics related to culture and the environment, such as how and why societies handle subsistence challenges, how groups of people understand their environment, and how they share that knowledge. Two significant subcategories exist within the broad field of human ecology. Human biological ecology is the study of how people use culture to adapt to their environment, while cultural ecology is the study of how people use culture to adapt to their environment.


Cultural ecology was a concept that focused on successful environmental adaptation and the use of energy and technology to exploit natural resources. The hypothesis of unilineal cultural evolution was replaced by the theory of multilinearity or multilineal evolution as a result of this method.


Cultural dispersion and migration behaviours have an impact on cultural ecology, whereas major adaptive patterns have emerged in culture's core areas. Following that, the ecosystem method was developed. The best anthropological study of the ecosystem approach is Roy Rappaport's research among the Tsembaga Marings. This technique demonstrates the role of cultural traditions, particularly the "Kaiku ceremony," as a feedback loop mechanism for maintaining homeostasis among the pig and human populations, assuming that food resources and energy use are regulated and controlled in the area. Unlike the symbolic meanings present in structuralism or the one indicated above in the ecosystem approach, Marvin Harris' theory of cultural materialism argues that cultural systems are practical. Culture systems are the facilitators in the ecological setting, as well as the production and distribution of resources, in materialism. Historical ecology methodologies could better explain resource management and the question of human existence and continuity.


Assignment – II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. (10)


Q 3. Discuss human adaptation to climate.

Ans) Biological anthropologists, physiologists, epidemiologists, dietitians, and human geneticists investigated humans living in a variety of harsh conditions in order to figure out how they adapted to shifting climates. This sort of research focuses on examining and comparing indigenous communities to other populations. Heat, Cold, and High Altitude are the three major climatic stresses addressed.


1. Adaptation to Heat

Heat stress affects people in a variety of places, including tropical equatorial locations and temperate zones with large land expanses. Humans develop synchronised physiological responses that allow them to dissipate heat efficiently and adapt to heat stress in order to survive heat stress. Humans achieve full adaptation to heat stress by maintaining a high peripheral heat conductance and an even distribution of perspiration across the skin after repeated exposure to heat stress. Simultaneously, the drop in skin temperature causes a decrease in rectal temperature, resulting in the maintenance of circulatory stability.


2. Adaptation to Cold

A cold environment is one in which the air temperature is less than 5 degrees Celsius. Humans lose body heat and suffer significant discomfort in cold climatic conditions. There are four types of cold environments on the planet: polar, high mountain, glacial, and periglacial. The Arctic and Antarctic regions, where solar radiation is less powerful, make up the periglacial environment.


3. Adaptation to High Altitude

High altitude is defined as an elevation of 2400-2500 metres above mean sea level. Humans face numerous severe environmental challenges at high altitudes, including decreased oxygen levels in the air, lower barometric pressure, cold and dry winds, limited nutritional supply, and rugged topography. One of the most significant physiological problems of high altitude is hypoxia, or the limited availability of oxygen.


Q 4. Briefly describe the theory cultural materialism.

Ans) Marvin Harris coined the term "cultural materialism" to describe some of the most fascinating parts of ecological principles in the context of cultural practises and norms. It adds a new dimension to the way we think about culture and the cultural behaviours that fall under the umbrella of religion. Materialism places a greater emphasis on the economic and political dimensions of a cultural activity than on the ideational and symbolic aspects.


In this video, Harris talks about the sacred cow in India and the ban on eating beef. This practise is now prescribed and defined in Hindu religious writings and practise, however it is believed that it was not always a part of the religion. Cow slaughter was common as part of sacrificial rites in the second millennium B. C., according to textual evidence, and the ritual meat was also consumed. Around this period, the Ganges valley became densely populated, leading in ecological degradation, which resulted in severe droughts, floods, and erosion, making it difficult to keep domesticated animals. According to Harris, this may have been the motivating force behind communities including a ban on eating cows' meat into their practises, since those who refused to consume their cattle may have been the ones who survived the ecological challenges. These customs were codified and incorporated into religious practise over time.


As a result, Harris claims that the cow's hallowed position allows Indian culture to gain from milk, mechanical energy for farming, dung for manure or fuelwood, and hide for leather products or objects rather than eating it as meat. He's implying that conserving cows rather than murdering them is better for the economy and the environment, as well as increasing production.

As a result of the cultural materialism approach, we can understand how different civilizations establish cultural practises to secure their interactions with their material base of nonhuman beings and other ecosystem elements.


Answer the following questions in about 125 words each. (5)


Q 5. Hunting gathering society adaptation through diet.

Ans) Humanity's first and most successful adaption was hunting and gathering. Humans receive their food by hunting, fishing, scavenging, and harvesting wild plants and other consumables in this society.


Adaptation through Diet

The types of food hunter-gatherers ate obviously varied based on the geography and the flora and fauna that lived there. Early humans tended to have smaller teeth than later humans. The size of one's teeth shrank while the size of one's brain grew. They compensated for their reduced teeth by establishing a stone tool culture, which enabled them to use their surroundings more efficiently than ever before. As a result, by adding more meat to their formerly mostly green diet, these individuals became more omnivorous—and hence more varied and adaptive.


Melamed published a study in 2016 that provides a unique peek into the plant diet of people living 780,000 years ago in Gesher Benot Ya‘aqov, Israel. There were 55 different types of food plants discovered there, including seeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and roots or tubers. The variety represents a broad plant diet and demonstrates that these people had a strong understanding of which edible things could be found in their region and in which season.


Q 6. Green revolution.

Ans) Between the 1940s and the late 1970s, the Green Revolution was a series of research, development, and technology transfer programmes. It boosted agricultural production all across the world, particularly after the late 1960s. The initiatives included the development of high-yielding cereal grain varieties, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, and distribution of hybridised seeds, synthetic fertilisers, and pesticides to farmers, and were led by Norman Borlaug, who is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation.


Furthermore, later in the twentieth century, when high-yield varieties of common staple grains like rice, wheat, and corn were developed as part of the Green Revolution, worldwide yields increased. The Green Revolution brought developed-world technologies (such as pesticides and synthetic nitrogen) to the developing world.



Assignment – III


7. Describe Allen’s rule. (10)

Ans) In 1877, an American biologist named Joel Asaph Allen proposed this rule. Allen's rule suggests that in hot climates, extremities (such as the arms and legs) should be as long as possible to provide the most surface area for heat dissipation. To decrease surface area in cold climates, limbs are kept short. With the average temperature at the habitat, the relative size of the protruding and exposed regions of the body decrease in closely related homeotherm types.


Allen's rule is concerned with changing the shape of the body in order to attain the best volume to surface area ratio, for example. Two cylinders with the same capacity, but the surface area of the attenuated cylinder is twice that of the other. As cylinders, larger or smaller appendages might have different volume/surface area ratios.


Allen's rule has less proof in human populations than other rules. Shorter lower extremities have been observed in people who live in colder climates, but not particularly short upper extremities. In certain research, the ratio of arm span to height is larger in people who live in hotter climates, for example, the ratio of sitting height to stature is higher in Eskimo people, many Siberian groups, Koreans, and Northern Chinese than in the rest of the globe. However, in these cold-climate populations, there is no evidence of arm length reduction in relation to sitting height. Eskimos (cold), Australian Aborigins (hot), Nilotes, or East Africans are only a few examples. Although proof of Allen's rule's applicability in human populations is rare, some evidence has been discovered. Members of the Masai tribe in East Africa are known for their tall, slim bodies with long arms. This bodily characteristic aids in the body's heat dissipation. This body shape is most common in hot tropical regions of the planet, but it could be a disadvantage in subarctic settings.


8. Briefly discuss about preparation of research proposal. (20)

Ans) A research proposal is a detailed description of a proposed study that would look into a certain issue. A research proposal's purpose is to persuade people that you have a valuable research idea and that you have the necessary skills and time to finish it.


Regardless of your study area or methodology, your research proposal should generally answer the following questions: What you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it, and how you intend to achieve it.


The elements of a research proposal are highlighted below:


1. Title: It should be concise, descriptive, informative and catchy. An effective title not only prick’s the readers interest, but also predisposes him/her favourably towards the proposal. The title may need to be revised after completion of writing of the protocol to reflect more closely the sense of the study.


2. Abstract: It is a brief summary of approximately 300 words. It should include the main research question, the rationale for the study, the hypothesis (if any) and the method. Descriptions of the method may include the design, procedures, the sample and any instruments that will be used


3. Introduction: The introduction provides the readers with the background information. Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research, so that readers can understand how it relates to another research. It should answer the question of why the research needs to be done and what will be its relevance. It puts the proposal in context.


4. Objectives: Research objectives are the goals to be achieved by conducting the research.5 They may be stated as ‘general’ and ‘specific’. The general objective of the research is what is to be accomplished by the research project, for example, to determine whether or not a new vaccine should be incorporated in a public health program. The specific objectives relate to the specific research questions the investigator wants to answer through the proposed study and may be presented as primary and secondary objectives.


5. Variables: During the planning stage, it is necessary to identify the key variables of the study and their method of measurement and unit of measurement must be clearly indicated. Four types of variables are important in research: Independent variables, Dependent variables, Confounding or intervening variables, Background variables.


Certain variables may not be easy to identify. The characteristics that define these variables must be clearly identified for the purpose of the study.


6. Questions and/ or hypotheses: If you as a researcher know enough to make prediction concerning what you are studying, then the hypothesis may be formulated. A hypothesis can be defined as a tentative prediction or explanation of the relationship between two or more variables. In other words, the hypothesis translates the problem statement into a precise, unambiguous prediction of expected outcomes.


7. Methodology: The method section is very important because it tells your research Committee how you plan to tackle your research problem. The guiding principle for writing the Methods section is that it should contain sufficient information for the reader to determine whether the methodology is sound


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