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BANC-107: Biological Diversity in Human Populations

BANC-107: Biological Diversity in Human Populations

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BANC 107/ASST/TMA/ 2021-22

Course Code: BANC-107

Assignment Name: Biological Diversity in Human Populations

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Read the instructions carefully and answer accordingly. There are three Sections in the Assignment. Answer all questions from all the sections.


Assignment I


Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20x2= 40


Q a. What is human biological variation? Briefly examine various morphological characters used in understanding biological variation.

Ans) The study of human biological variation is a key and fundamental concept in physical/biological anthropology. Many biological characteristics distinguish humans from one another around the world. Anthropologists have been using somatometric and somatoscopic variables to study biological variation since the 19th century. These characters were also used to describe humans and divide them into races all throughout the world. Dermatoglyphics were also employed to describe ethnic and/or demographic variance; however, they were rarely used in racial classification. The discovery of the genetically determined ABO blood type system, followed by other blood group polymorphisms, protein polymorphisms, red cell enzyme polymorphisms, and most recently DNA markers, provided anthropologists with tools to investigate human variation at the turn of the twentieth century.


Therefore, a brief account of morphological (somatoscopic, somatometric, dermatoglyphics) characteristics are discussed below with examples:


1. Somatoscopic Characteristics

Somatoscopy is the study of human morphological characteristics. The systematic visual examination of physical aspects of different areas of the human body for precise description is known as somatoscopy. The quantitative nature of these morphological features necessitates a descriptive approach. The majority of somatoscopic features vary by location. Anthropologists used these morphological characteristics to classify human populations. Skin colour, hair colour, hair shape, hair texture, hair whorl, nose form, and face form are all characteristics.


2. Somatometric Characteristics

Somatometry is the measuring of a living or dead body, including the head and face. Osteometry is the study of skeleton measurements, including Craniometry, which is the study of skull measurements. Height, sitting height, body weight, head circumference, chest circumference, abdomen circumference, head length, head breadth, and skinfold thickness measurements such as triceps, biceps, and subscapular are among the somatometric measurements. The maximum length of the radius, the maximum length of the ulna, and other osteometric parameters are included. Maximum cranial length, maximum cranial breadth, nasal height, nasal breadth, and other cranial measurements are taken. These somatometric measurements have been used to help researchers better comprehend population variance.


Somatometry is the measuring of a living or dead body, including the head and face. Height, sitting height, body weight, head circumference, chest circumference, abdomen circumference, head length, head breadth, and skinfold thickness measurements such as triceps, biceps, and subscapular are among the somatometric measurements.


However, for the sake of this unit, we will simply look at somatometry. These somatometric measurements have been used to help researchers better comprehend population variance.


Dermatoglyphics Characteristics

The configurations found on the distal phalanges of fingers and toes are known as dermatoglyphics. Galton classed them as Arches, Loops, and Whorls based on their construction. Henry later developed a four-part classification. He divided the kind into four categories: arch, loop, whorl, and composite. Different varieties of finger dermatoglyphics exist. They are as follows:


Dermatoglyphics (from Ancient Greek derma, "skin," and glyph, "carving") is the scientific study of fingerprints, lines, mounts, and shapes of hands, as opposed to palmistry, which is seemingly similar.


The formation of naturally occurring ridges on particular body parts, such as the palms, fingers, soles, and toes, is also known as dermatoglyphics. These ridges offer for enhanced leverage while grabbing up things or walking barefoot because hair does not develop in these areas.


Q b. What are the different major races of the world? Briefly comment on any one of the major races.

Ans) Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid are the world's three principal races. The Mongoloid major race is covered in detail further below.



The Mongoloid race is thought to have originated in Central Asia, from where it has expanded in various directions. The Mongoloids have yellow or yellow-brown skin, straight coarse hair, thin body and facial hair, brachycephalic head, broad face with prominent cheekbones, oblique eye with narrow slit-like opening, internal or complete epicanthic fold, brachycephalic head, broad face with prominent cheekbones, oblique eye with narrow slit-like opening, internal or complete epicanthic fold. On the basis of their geographical distribution, the Mongoloids can be split into four major groups.


1) The Classical or Central Mongoloid

In addition to brachycephalic with a projecting occiput region, the Classical Mongoloid has mesocephalic and dolichocephalic heads. They feature a low to medium nasal bridge, no depressed root, a straight or concave profile with a fairly spread wing, a broad face with squared jaws, and a rounded medium mouth.


2) The Arctic or Eskimoid

Northern Asia, the Arctic coast of North America, Greenland, Labrador, and Western Alaska are all home to these people. This sub-race is represented by Eskimos, Chukchis, Kamtchadales, Yakuts, Samoyedes, and others. They have a mesocephalic to brachycephalic head, a thin but prominent nose, an epicanthic fold that is complete, small hands and feet, big trunks, and short legs.


3) Indonesian-Malay Mongoloid

There is a significant amount of Caucasoid and Negroid mixing in this sub-race. These folks can be found all over Southern Asia. This type is further subdivided into two categories: Malay and Indonesian

(a) Malay type: These people are found in Southern China, Indo-China, Burma, Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Dutch East Indies, the Philippines, Japan, etc. The Mongoloid features appear to be stronger in the Malay type than in the Indonesian type

(b) Indonesian type or Nesiot: This type is found in Southern China, Indo- China, Burma, Thailand, etc. The physical features include red-brown to medium brown skin colour, wavy hair, mesorrhine nose but having narrow high and long features. Face is narrower, longer and more oval than the Malay type.


4) The American Indian or The Amerindian

The American Indians can be found throughout North, Middle, and South America. Aside from Mongoloid characteristics, they have racial elements from Caucasoid, Australoid, and Negroid populations. Yellow-brown to red-brown skin colour, straight to wavy hair form and sparse body and facial hair distribution, dolicho-mesocephalic or brachycephalic head, mesorrhine long nose with high bridge and convex profile, typical Mongoloid cheekbones with broad face, elevated eye-brow ridges and glabella, shovel-shaped incisors, medium prognathism, either integumentary or inte

(a) Palaeo-Amerind: This is an archaic South American race. They have been identified as Lagoa Santa type of Brazil, Ecuador, Orinoco, Botocudo, Buru, etc. They also live in the Eastern United States and Canada. They have reddish-brown skin colour, dolichocephalic head, long and narrow face and wavy hair.

(b) Northern Amerind: The North American Indians and the people of the Northern and Eastern Woodlands belong to this group.

(c) Neo-Amerind: This type is distributed in South America, Central America, and North American Plateau.

(d) Tehuelche: This type lives in Patagonia, and probably the Onas of Tierra del Fuego constitute a branch of Tehuelche.

(e) North-West Coast Amerind: They have lighter skin colour than any other Amerinds. They live in the North-West coast of North America who have concave or straight nose while the Southern type has convex and high nose.


Assignment II


Answer any two of the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x2=20


Q a. Briefly discuss the influence of Bio-cultural factors on Disease.

Ans) The influence of bio-cultural factors on diseases is discussed below:



Regardless of societal or psychological acceptability, disease is a pathological state of the organism. Culture not only aids in understanding the health condition, but also in coping, protecting, and preventing it by modifying physical and social settings. The study of people from various cultures could help to improve the native system of disease identification, naming, and other associated difficulties.


Although health and illness are biological concepts, they are also linked to socio-cultural circumstances. As a result, beliefs and patterns of disease associated with health and disease should be included in health studies. Culture bound disorders were discovered to have symptoms that are unique to various ethnic groupings. The following are some examples of syndromes:

1. Koro, a condition in which people believe that sexual organs are shrinking which is observed among people of Southern China and South-East Asia;

2. Latah syndrome, it initially begins as an exaggerated amazing response to a surprising event and later result into a lifelong condition.


Some diseases are genetic or acquired in all cultures, while others, such as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease, are caused by socially patterned risk factors like tobacco and alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, overweight, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol. Due to higher consumption of cigarettes and alcohol, a less healthy diet consisting of less fish, vegetables, fibres, and meat in low-income individuals, and physical inactivity in higher-income people, the high burden of these risk factors has been demonstrated to be shifting from high to low-income countries.


Q c. Briefly comment on various demographic processes, Fertility, Mortality and Migration.

Ans) Fertility, mortality and migration are three important demographic processes that determine the changes in population size, composition or distribution.

1. Fertility

Demographers are studying a variety of social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors that influence both the likelihood of a woman having a child and the number of children she will have during her lifetime. Demographers have discovered that the more years of schooling a woman has, the fewer children she will have. In comparison to women who attended school for a shorter amount of time, women with a higher degree are more likely to marry and establish a family later. Generally speaking, the higher a person's socioeconomic standing is, the fewer children they are likely to have.


2. Mortality

The relative frequency of fatalities in a population is referred to as mortality. The life span, which is the numerical age limit of human life, and life expectancy, which is the average predicted number of years of life to be lived by a certain population at a given period, are two different notions used by demographers when referring to mortality. Every single one of us was born and will die. Death will not strike everyone at the same moment. Mortality has a wide range of consequences depending on social and demographic factors. In comparison to individuals from lower social classes, those from higher social classes live longer.


3. Migration

Migrants and movers are two different types of people, according to demographers. A mover is someone who relocates, whether it's across the block or across the country. Migration is the most important of the three demographic processes when it comes to the dynamics of population growth for communities. When compared to differences in migration, differences in birth and death rates within communities within the same country are often minor. The most common way for redistributing the population inside a country is migration.


Answer the following questions in about 50 words each. 2x5=10


Q a. Genetic Drift

Ans) Genetic drift is the process by which allele frequencies shift in a breeding population. Random fluctuations in allele frequency are referred to as genetic drift. In small populations, the effect of genetic drift is frequently the most noticeable. Genetic drift can cause an allele to disappear from a population or increase the frequency of an allele in the same population.


Q b. mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)

Ans) It is a circular shaped, double stranded molecule and inherited from the mother to the children. Due to unique characteristics of mtDNA such as high mutation rate, high copy number and lack of recombination, it is used for evolutionary and polymorphism studies. Maternal history of population (migration of women gene pool) can be known using mtDNA.


Q c. Phenotype and Genotype

Ans) The sum of an organism’s observable characteristics is their phenotype. A key difference between phenotype and genotype is that, whilst genotype is inherited from an organism’s parents, the phenotype is not.  Whilst a phenotype is influenced the genotype, genotype does not equal phenotype.


Genotyping is the process by which differences in the genotype of an individual are analysed using biological assays. The data obtained can then be compared against either a second individual’s sequence, or a database of sequences.


Q d. Ethnicity and Race

Ans) Ethnicity refers to a social group that has a common national and cultural tradition, though there are some aspects of biological variation too. Ethnicity is culturally determined while the race is biologically determined.


Race mainly refers to biological variation, of which skin colour is one of the important determining characters to assign. The race is unitary in the sense that a person can belong to one race only.


Q e. National Census

Ans) A national census is the whole process of collecting, compiling, and publishing demographic, economic and social data pertaining at a particular time to everyone in a country or delimited territory. Everyone in a population and the entire demographic events that take place in the population are supposed to be registered in a national census.


Assignment III


Answer the following questions in about 250 words 10x3=30


Q a. Describe Human Appendicular skeleton with suitable diagrams.

Ans)  The Appendicular skeletal system comprises of 126 bones. They are as follows:

1. Pectoral Girdle: Clavicle-2, scapula-2.

2. Fore Limbs (Upper Extremity): Humerus-2, Radius-2, Ulna-2, Carpals-16,

Metacarpals-10 and Phalanges -28.

3. Pelvic Girdle: Hip bones-2.

4. Hind Limbs (Lower Extremity): Femur-2, Tibia-2, Fibula-2, Patella-2, Tarsals- 14, Metatarsals-10 and Phalanges-28

Classification of Bones:There are five types of bones in the body. They are long bones, short bones, flat bones, irregular bones and sesamoid bones.

1) Long bones: Each long bone has an elongated shaft or diaphysis and two expanded ends (epiphyses) which are smooth and articular. Examples of typical long bones are humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia and fibula, metacarpals, metatarsals and phalanges.

2) Short bones: Short bones are defined as being approximately as wide as they are long and have a primary function of providing support and stability with little movement. Examples: carpal and tarsal bones in the wrist and foot.

3) Flat Bones: These bones resemble shallow plates and form boundaries of certain body cavities. The example of a flat bone is the scapula, sternum, cranium, pelvis and ribs.

4) Irregular bones: The bones, which cannot be grouped under any of the above groups, are included in this category. Bones of the vertebral column, sacrum and mandible are the best examples.

5) Sesamoid bones: These are bony nodules found embedded in the tendons or joint capsules. The patella (kneecap) is a good example.


Q b. Describe the procedure for measuring Bizygomatic Breadth and Upper Facial Height. Describe the landmarks involved.

Ans) 1. Maximum Bizygomatic Breadth (zy – zy): It measures the straight distance between two zygia (zy) which are the most laterally placed points on the zygomatic bone.


Instrument: Spreading calliper

Procedure: A skull is placed on the table in normal vertical is position. Two points of the spreading calliper are kept on zygion of either side of the skull, wherever maximum breadth observed it should be recorded.


2. Upper Facial Height (n – pr): It measures the straight distance between nasion (n) to prosthion (pr).

Instrument: Sliding calliper

Procedure: The skull has to be placed in such a manner that the occipital region rests on the pad. One point of sharp end of calliper is kept on nasion and the movable point is extended to the prosthion and the measurement is recorded.



A landmark may be defined as a definite anatomical point or an indefinite point located by geometrical relations which form the termini of the direct measurement. Some of the landmarks listed below are commonly used in craniometry:


Basion (ba): It is the point on the anterior margin of the foramen magnum which is cut by the mid-sagittal plane.

Bregma (b): It is the point where the sagittal suture meets the coronal suture.

Condylion laterale (cdl): It is the most lateral point of the condyle of the mandible.

Coronale (co): It is the point on the lateral margin of the frontal bone, one on each side, which marks the termini of maximum frontal breadth.

Euryon (eu): It is the point which lies most laterally of the skull on the parietal bones.

Fronto temporale (ft): It is the most projected and inwardly placed point of the superior temporal line.

Frontomalare temporale (fmt): This point is most laterally placed point on zygomatico frontalis suture.

Glabella (g): It is the point on the frontal bone between the two supra-orbital ridges of the forehead.

Gonion (go): It is the most posterior, inferior and lateral point of the angle of the lower jaw formed by the posterior margin of the ramus and the basal margin of the mandible.

Gnathion (gn): It is the lowest point on the lower margin of the mandible in the mid-sagittal plane.


Nasion (n): It is the point where the frontonasal suture meets the mid-sagittal plane.

Nasospinale (ns): It is the point on the lower margin of the pyriform aperture projected in mid-sagittal plane.

Opisthocranion (op): It is the most posterior point on the occipital bone in the mid-sagittal plane.

Opisthion (o): It is a point where the posterior margin of the foramen magnum cuts the mid- sagittal plane.

Prosthion (pr): It is the point which lies on the alveolar margin of the upper jaw in the mid-sagittal plane, projecting most anteriorly between the two central incisors.

Zygion (zy): This is the lateral most point on the zygomatic bone. Zygion is determined whilen taking the bizygomatic breadth.

Q c. What is procedure involved in the collection of human blood

Ans) For determination of phenotyping of the blood groups, blood sample is to be collected. Clearance from the ethics committee of the institute and consent of the participant may be obtained before collecting the blood sample.


Materials Required

Gloves, Tourniquet, 70% alcohol, cotton, disposable syringe (5mL), 5 ml falcon tube (10 numbers), tube stand, anticoagulants (Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA) 2mg/ml, sodium citrate (3.2%) or Heparin (12-30 IU/ml)).



The person who collect the blood should wear the gloves to maintain sterility. Tourniquet is fixed on the upper arm of the participant (Figure 2.1). Area of median cubital vein is cleaned with swab dipped into the alcohol (70%) and allow to dry for few seconds. The median cubital vein is palpitated with finger. Using disposal syringe needle the median cubital vein is punctured, blood is drawn into the syringe, after filling 75% of the syringe, the syringe needle is slowly removed from the cubital vein. After removing the needle, the needle is detached from the syringe and the blood is slowly released into the falcon tube filled with either of the anticoagulant (given in the material section) through walls and tube cap is fixed. The released blood is gently mixed with anticoagulant by rolling the falcon or glass tube on the palm for 5 to 6 times and later kept in the tube stand. If storage is required the tube can be stored at 2-4°C in refrigerator for one day. Following this procedure blood samples from ten subjects are drawn.

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