top of page
BANC-132: Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology

BANC-132: Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for BANC-132 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology, you have come to the right place. BANC-132 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.

Looking to download all solved assignment PDFs for your course together?

BANC-132 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity

Assignment Solution

Assignment Code: BANC 132/ASST/TMA/2021-2022

Course Code: BANC 132

Assignment Name: Fundamentals of Biological Anthropology

Year: 2021-2022 (July 2021 and January 20222 sessions)

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Assignments. All questions are compulsory.


Assignment – I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


Q1. Discuss aims and scope of physical/biological anthropology. 20

Ans) Aim of Physical / Biological Anthropology:

Physical anthropology answers the question on who the ancestors of human species were and how they evolved to the present form. They ascertain the different stages and mechanism during the evolutionary history. Human palaeontologists reconstruct the skeletons of extinct that may have been our forerunners to understand the present-day man. Using the fossil record and from what can be determined through comparative anatomy, the paleoanthropologists study the evolution of primates and hominids.


Physical anthropologists apply human demographic and ecological data to the study of human population genetics. Demography directly related to fertility and morality is another subject which attracts attention of physical anthropologists. The factors responsible for variation in different populations of these phenomena are answered by the physical anthropologists.


The molecular differences between species and the relative frequencies of different molecules in the same species necessitate explanation on acceptance of how these species live, or have lived in the womb, or how their ancestors lived in the distant past, is the domain of molecular anthropologist. The growth in man is reliant on two broad categories - heredity and environment. The study of growth and its related fields are important aspects of physical/ biological anthropology. 


Scope of Physical / Biological Anthropology:

Physical/biological anthropology is no longer just an academic study; recent history demonstrates a growing awareness of what anthropology has discovered and can uncover about humans. Physical anthropology has taken on new directions as a result of recent advancements in the science. Physical anthropology's breadth is best defined globally within the context of the traditions followed at various stages of its development. Physical anthropology can be divided into two categories: "old or classical" and "new or analytical." The study of man has come a long way since Washburn coined the term "New physical Anthropology" in 1951.


Because the development of his physical and cultural characteristics is reliant on the environment prevailing at the time, physical anthropology is widely acknowledged as the comparative science of man as a physical creature in context to his complete surroundings, both social or cultural and physical.


The breadth of human variability, as well as the reasons that contribute to the current distribution, has been a major source of worry. A specialised discipline of physical/biological anthropology, genetics and anthropometry are utilised to determine the reason of diversification and human variances.


Growth and development in physical/biological anthropology has its own significance, whether it's studying secular trends (e.g., weight gain or loss in the next generation), stage of growth, population growth pattern, factors affecting nutritional status, reproductive biology, or population variation.


Physical anthropology has proven to be invaluable in the fields of dentistry, medicine, and industrial research in recent years. Physical anthropology has a huge impact on the field of forensic science. Dermatoglyphics, osteology, osteometry, and serology are some of the fields of physical anthropology that help a forensic scientist conclude; somatic and genetic traits help determine age and sex. Kin anthropometry makes use of potamological knowledge to interpret body kinds for various activities or even specific diseases.


As a result of advanced study elevating physical anthropology to the level of autonomous discipline, the subject's various dimensions of academic/research and practical significance have grown into several clearly recognisable subfields of the subject. Human population genetics, primatology, palaeoanthropology, human genetics, medical anthropology, physiological anthropology, forensic anthropology, nutritional anthropology, dental anthropology, anthropometry, ergonomics, demography, and ethology are among the many specialised fields of physical/biological anthropology.


Q2. Describe bipedalism in brief. 20

Ans) Humans are the only bipedal species. These traits evolved at varying rates during millions of years of evolution. Mosaic evolution describes patterns of divergent evolution of physiological and behavioural systems. Human bipedalism is the result of various adaptive musculoskeletal features that modified human lineage. Long-term changes in the spinal column, pelvis, lower leg, and foot have resulted in these adaptive features.


Evidence for Bipedalism


Early hominid fossils with ape-sized brains and bipedal morphology show that bipedalism evolved before brains. Dr. Raymond Dart discovered the Taung Child Australopithecine skull in 1924. Australopithecus africanus. The foramen magnum was forward, indicating it walked upright and kept its head up. The fossilised skeleton of Lucy (female), an Australopithecus afarensis member, was discovered in 1974 by Donald Johanson in Hadar (Ethiopia). They proved bipedality and erect posture. In order to keep her balance, she had a big pelvis and thigh bones that angled in toward the knees.


Anatomical Changes

Acquisition of habitual bipedalism involved various anatomical changes.


1) Shortening and broadening of pelvis and stabilization of weight transmission

Quadrapeds have vertically expanded hip bones that are parallel. Hominin ilium got shorter and broader. It now supports the abdominal organs and transmits weight from lower back to hip joint when standing upright. This widened the thoracic-pelvic distance, relieving the lumbar region. This enhancement allowed Great Ape to travel further. In addition, the pelvic shift placed the sacroiliac and hip joints closer together. The gluteal musculature was displaced by the larger iliac blade. For walking or running, it helps stretch and draw the thigh back.


2) Repositioning of foramen magnum forward, the opening at the base of skull from which spinal cord emerges.

Humans have an anterior foramen magnum, which is thought to help keep the head balanced atop the cervical spinal column. Quadrupeds with a posterior foramen magnum require strong muscle and ligaments to support the head. When compared to other extant orthograde apes, the location of the foramen magnum is connected with bipedalism and erect posture in humans.


3) Addition of curves (backward-thoracic, forward-lumbar) in spinal cord to transmit the weight of the upper body to hips in upper in an upright position.

The upper body weight must be adequately transmitted to maintain a bipedal stance. From the trunk to the pelvic girdle, then to the legs. Posterior lumbar concavity and thoracic convexity are adaptive shifts in weight-trans to walk or run, the trunk can bend and extend using the curvature. Lower back mobility is restricted in extinct primates. It also allowed the body to be balanced while striding upright. Moreover, half of the vertebrae have one. For an upright trunk posture, the back muscles must be rearranged.


4) Lengthening of hind limb and large bicondylar angle

Humans have longer lower limbs than other primates, contributing to longer strides. The femoral bicondylar angle connects the body's midline with the distal end of the femur, knee, and lower leg. Aiming to walk with the body's centre of mass directly over the stance leg Humans have an 8°-11° angle while African apes have a 1°-2° angle. Humans with a prominent inter-trochanteric line, gluteal tuberosity, and elevated linea aspera had better muscle and ligament attachments and posture.


5) Structural changes in foot

Bipedalism liberated the forearm for tool use. Bipeds have less skin exposed to the sun, which helps regulate body temperature and aids in cooling. Also, the body's distance from the ground prevents heat radiation from the ground from warming the body. Bipedal position allowed for better seeing of prey. Long-distance travel and hunting became easier. Bipedalism caused pelvic alterations that reduced birth canal size. A baby is born when the head can fit through the birth canal, although evolution has caused protracted growth and dependency periods. In turn, this promotes loving relationships and male-female guardianship of dependent children.



Assignment – II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.


Q3. Characteristics of living primates. 10

Ans) Primates are distinguished from other mammals by one or more of the following traits:

  1. The anatomy of Primates enables them to maintain semi-erect and erect postures and locomotor patterns.

  2. They have pentadactyl hands and feet.

  3. They have flattened nails on each of their digits excepting tree shrews.

  4. They possess a relatively low density of body hairs instead of fur.

  5. They have fewer tactile hairs.

  6. The olfactory area of their brain is reduced. They thus have an increased dominance of vision over smell, and reduction in the length of the snout.

  7. The visual area of their brain is expanded.

  8. Their eye sockets are completely encircled by a bony ridge.

  9. They show an increased reliance on stereoscopic vision at the expense of smell.

  10. Some primates have developed a three-color vision.

  11. They have pseudo-and true opposability of the thumb and the great toe.

  12. They possess relatively larger and complex brains.

  13. Most female primates have a simple unicornuate uterus.

  14. They are placental mammals with longer gestation period and generally give birth to only one or two infants at a time.

  15. They have year-round fertility.

  16. Their infants have prolonged physical and emotional dependence upon their mothers.

  17. They have prolonged growth and maturation periods and long-life spans.

  18. They display a reduction in the number of teeth.

  19. They possess a separate radius and an ulna in the forearm and a separate tibia and a fibula in the lower leg.

  20. They show reduction in the length of their external tail.

  21. They possess a shortened vertebral column.


It may be noted that all the above characteristics may not be found in each member of the order. But several of these traits occur in most living primate groups.


Q4. Discuss Methods to study human variations 10

Ans) Some of the major methods and techniques to study human variations:



For almost 150 years, anthropometry has been used to measure and analyse human morphological and anatomical diversity. It is the scientific study of human body measurements using standardised units, landmarks, and tools. Prior to the development of technologies that could discern microscopic variation, morphology was the primary means of classification. Anthropometry's relative low cost and ease of use make it a good human variation measure. The measurement of human growth and the Anthropometric Standardization Reference Manual are two important anthropometric standards. Anthropometric approaches can be used to compare current groups (children or adults) as well as modern humans and their ancestors throughout evolutionary history.



The term somatoscopy refers to the description of morphological physical properties of people based on eye observation. The visual assessment of bodily features is subject to a set of standardised observations. These include skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, face, nose, and lip shape. Somatoscopic observations are crucial for understanding human diversity and defining a common morphological trait for a group of individuals, a community, or an ethnic group.



The study of blood and its qualities is called serology. A straightforward inheritance mechanism makes blood attributes popular in anthropological genetics. Blood groups, which are complex chemical compounds found in the red blood cell wall, are one such collection of traits. Antigenic chemicals react with antibodies and can be detected. We currently know of several distinct blood group systems.



Dermatoglyphics is a branch of anthropology that analyses human physical characteristics. The genetic study of variations in the pattern of ridges present on the fingers, palms, and soles. Humans develop these ridges between 11 and 17 weeks of gestation. Ridge patterns appear to be influenced by both genetic and developmental influences. The genetic basis for dermatoglyphic variability in humans is unknown and possibly complex. Fingertip patterns can be classified into three types: arches, loops, and whorls.


Q5. Discuss the scope of human growth. 10

Ans) "Though growth and development may occur at the same time, they are different biological processes." A child's or a child's parts grow in size with time. Head support, speaking, learning, expressing feelings, and relating to others are just a few of the skills (abilities) that develop over time. Growth is defined as an increase in size or mass that can be measured. In millimetres and kilogrammes, height and weight measurements reveal how much a child has grown.


The number, weight, or size of cells in a biological organ, such as the liver or the brain, can also be used to indicate its growth. "Development" is defined as "a series of quantitative or qualitative changes that lead to a highly organised, specialised, and mature state from an undifferentiated or immature state." Growth is defined as a change in size that can be measured in biological systems, whereas development is described as a structural change.

Normal growth and development reflect a decent condition of health and nutrition. Abnormal growth or growth failure is an indication of disease. As a result, measuring growth is an important aspect of a physical examination. A multitude of methods are used to assess growth. Weight, height, head size, MUAC (mid upper arm circumference), tooth eruption, and other characteristics must all be considered. Growth monitoring is done for a variety of reasons, including early detection of abnormal growth and development, facilitating early treatment or correction of any conditions that may be causing abnormal growth and development, and providing an opportunity for health education and advice for the prevention of malnutrition.


Development is influenced by a variety of factors including as nutrition, emotional support, play, and language training. We keep track of the child's growth by noting when he or she grins at the mother, sits independently, grasps objects with both hands, stands, walks, and speaks. Keeping track of when the youngster reached each milestone would be intriguing.



Assignment – III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.


Q6. Relationship of biological anthropology and earth sciences 5

Ans) Earth Science is concerned about the solids, water, air, weather, rocks, and other elements in our atmosphere. As earth science covers a wide range of subjects, topics, and issues, it has been divided into a couple of subjects. Branches of earth science include Hydrology, Atmospheric science, Pedology, etc. If we consider two main branches of earth science they are: Geography and Geology, they cover almost all topics that can be included in earth science.


Relationship between Anthropology and Geography

Anthropology is the study of human evolution over the year. Geography is the studies of the physical structure of the earth, climatic change, latitude and longitude, culture at the different part of the earth, ecology etc. In the development and evolution of human being natural elements like weather, climate, soil, temperature, etc have direct effect on human beings and details about these environmental elements are discussed in Geography. So, we can say Geography and Anthropology are closely connected.


Q7. Human genetics 5

Ans Human genetics is the study of inheritance as it occurs in human beings. Human genetics encompasses a variety of overlapping fields including classical genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics, genomics, population genetics, developmental genetics, clinical genetics, and genetic counselling.


Genes are the common factor of the qualities of most human-inherited traits. Study of human genetics can answer questions about human nature, can help understand diseases and the development of effective treatment and help us to understand the genetics of human life.


Q8. Criticism of Lamarck’s Theory of Evolution. 5

Ans) Lamarck’s theory was subject to severe criticism. Two scientists Cuvier and Weismann were great critics of Lamarck.


Some objections raised against Lamarckism are as follows:

  1. Though the tendency to increase in size has been shown in many forms, there are also instances where there is reduction in size. For example, trees that are primitive, are large in size, while the shrubs, herbs and grasses that evolved later are smaller in size.

  2. If new organs were to develop in response to a new need, then man should have developed wings by now.


Q9. Discuss in brief morphological criteria of classification of “Races” 5

Ans) The Diversity of Biological Life Polygenic inheritance is present in morphological features, and the genotype-phenotype relationship is not well understood. These qualities are adaptive in nature, which is a major criticism levelled against them when used to determine genetic distance between human populations. In human taxonomy, Oliver and Howells emphasised the use of metric features and morphological averages as an investigative tool.


There are two types of morphological traits: 1) somatoscopic traits, which are difficult to measure precisely and are based solely on visual observation, and 2) anthropometric traits, which can be precisely measured using standardised methods, such as stature, head length, head breadth, and other body measurements.


Q10. Adaptation to high altitude. 5

Ans) High altitude environment presents several stresses to humans. The most important include (a) hypoxia (b) high solar radiation (c) cold (d) low humidity (e) high winds (f) limited nutritional base, and (g) rough terrain. From the physiological point of view hypoxia is the most important since the other stresses are present in an equal or to a greater degree in other geographical zones.


Factors Affecting Individual Response to High Altitude

Age: Young people had a higher haemoglobin content than older people during the first several days at high altitude, according to acclimatisation research.


Physical Fitness: Individuals who are physically fit are better able to withstand the stress of hypoxia than those who are not. This is related to the beneficial effects of physical activity, such as enhanced vascularization and maximum aerobic capacity, as well as increased striated and cardiac muscle growth.


Q11. How anatomy is related to movement? 5

Ans) Anatomy of Movement takes a dynamic, integrated approach to the study of the musculoskeletal system's physical structures and their functional relationships to human body movements. The fact that most primates can move in a variety of ways, leaping at times and running quadrupedally at others, and occasionally suspend themselves from branches, makes it difficult to understand how anatomy relates to movements. As a result, anatomy reflects a succession of compromises as well as the ability to accomplish a variety of tasks. Nonetheless, muscle and bone distinctions reflect variances in the frequency with which monkey species use different methods of locomotion.

100% Verified solved assignments from ₹ 40  written in our own words so that you get the best marks!
Learn More

Don't have time to write your assignment neatly? Get it written by experts and get free home delivery

Learn More

Get Guidebooks and Help books to pass your exams easily. Get home delivery or download instantly!

Learn More

Download IGNOU's official study material combined into a single PDF file absolutely free!

Learn More

Download latest Assignment Question Papers for free in PDF format at the click of a button!

Learn More

Download Previous year Question Papers for reference and Exam Preparation for free!

Learn More

Download Premium PDF

Assignment Question Papers

Which Year / Session to Write?

Get Handwritten Assignments

bottom of page