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MANI-002: Physical Anthropology

MANI-002: Physical Anthropology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

If you are looking for MANI-002 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Physical Anthropology, you have come to the right place. MANI-002 solution on this page applies to 2021-22 session students studying in MAAN courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MANI 002/AST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: MANI-002

Assignment Name: Physical Anthropology

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Note: There are two sections ‘A’ and ‘B.’ Attempt any five questions, at least two from each section. All questions carry equal marks. The word limit for 20 marks question is 500 words and that of 10 marks is 250 words.

Section A

Q1) Define physical anthropology. Briefly discuss its aims and scope. (20)

Ans) Physical Anthropology is defined by Paul Broca, the father of the discipline, as the natural history of the genus Homo, and more specifically as the science whose goal is to study humanity as a whole and in relation to the rest of nature. Physical anthropologists, according to Herskovits, study the nature of racial differences, the inheritance of bodily traits, the growth, development, and decay of the human organism, and the impact of the natural environment on man.

Biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability and variation, primatology, and the fossil record of human evolution are all covered by Physical Anthropology. In today's increasingly specialised world of science, Physical Anthropology reflects an important scenario. As a result, the discipline aids us in investigating the sources of variation, which are the result of genetic differences and environmental changes, as well as historical change directions. These differences may have evolved over long periods of time, both among individuals and groups. Physical anthropology's strength is its understanding of the human organism, and it is an important perspective in today's increasingly specialised world of science. Physical anthropology is a broad field that has found its way into physician seminars, schoolroom classes, and even casual conversation, demonstrating its broad scope.

Aim of Physical Anthropology

Physical anthropology's strength is its broad understanding of the human organism. Physical anthropology also encompasses bio-cultural studies of human diversity, human ancestors, comparative anatomy, ecology, behaviour, and history, as well as comparative anatomy, ecology, behaviour, and history of primates. Human genetics, growth and development, and evolutionary history are all topics that physical anthropologists are interested in. They try to accurately describe both past and present human physical structure, as well as how function and behaviour are integrated into the environment in which humans live. Although there is a distinct area for both fields, human biology has been mistakenly used as a synonym for physical anthropology on numerous occasions. Physical anthropology refers to all chronological, racial, social, and even pathological groupings of humans, whereas human biology refers to the structure and function of contemporary man. They are extremely close, but they each have their own working methods, techniques, and goals.

Scope of Physical Anthropology

In fact, recent years have seen a growing appreciation for what anthropology has discovered and can discover about humans. Physical anthropology has always been focused on man's physical characteristics, their origins, how they evolved, and their development to the present state, that is, whatever we are today is the result of past and present circumstances. Because the development of his physical and cultural factors is reliant on the environment prevailing at the time, physical anthropology is widely accepted as the comparative science of man as a physical organism in context to his total surrounding, be it social, cultural, or physical. Understanding and assessing the degree of human variability, as well as accounting for the factors that contribute to our current distribution, has been a top priority. The fields of genetics and anthropometry, which have been used to approximate the causes of diversification and human variation, provide a major answer. Physical anthropology has a subdiscipline called human variation.

Q2) Discuss the genetic factors affecting growth. (20)

Ans) Factors affecting a child's growth rate or tempo must be considered separately from those affecting his or her size, shape, and body composition. Tempo is genetically distinct from genetic control of final adult size and, to a large extent, final shape. Changes in tempo caused by the environment do not appear to be controlled separately by genetic and environmental factors. Shape is genetically controlled much more strictly than size, presumably because shape represents primarily how cells are distributed, whereas size represents the sum of cell sizes. Monozygotic twins, who share the same genes and most aspects of the family environment, show the most striking similarities in growth. Siblings share fewer genes and fewer aspects of the family environment than unrelated children, but they look a lot alike. There are family growth patterns, and the closer the genetic relationship, the closer the growth pattern in general. This is likely due to the fact that rather than a few major genes, many genes with small effects control growth and adult size and shape. Shields published research on monozygotic twins (MZ) reared together and apart. Adult stature differed more between those raised apart and those raised together, but they were more similar than dizygotic (DZ) like-sexed twins.

The analysis of the growth curves revealed that the rate of growth, and especially the rate of change in rate, is strongly influenced by genetics. The resemblance in body measurements between parents and children is also noticeable, though not until the children are around 2 years old and showing more effect of their own genes than the effect of their uterine environment. The height correlation coefficients between parents and offspring between the ages of 3 and 9 have been used as the basis for childhood height standards, considering the parents' height. There is little evidence that one parent has a greater influence on size than the other, or that sons resemble fathers and daughters more than vice versa. When the parents' heights are known, the range of adult height variation, as represented by 2 standard deviations of the mean, ranges from 25 cm in general male populations to 17 cm in a given family, 16 cm among brothers, and 1.6 cm among monozygotic twins reared together. At the same time, limb and trunk lengths are genetically determined, whereas skeletal widths and, of course, fat are not.

Differences in gene pools, environments, and interactions are all factors that contribute to population differences. Afro-American children growing up in favourable conditions are slightly taller and heavier than Europeans and Euro-Americans living in the same cities, according to studies. This is partly or entirely due to the fact that they are more mature. Asiatic, on the other hand, despite being further advanced in maturity, is smaller under similar favourable conditions. The relationship of biacromial to biiliac width reveals racial differences in shape. In comparison to Londoners and Hong Kong Chinese, Afro-American boys and girls in Washington have significantly narrower hips relative to shoulders. In this regard, Chinese women are similar to Londoners, with the exception that adolescent girls gain more hips. There are also differences in body composition, with Africans having more muscle and heavier bones per unit weight, especially in males, as well as less fat in the limbs compared to fat on the trunk. In terms of skeletal maturity and motor development, African new-borns are ahead of Europeans. In most parts of Africa, he maintains this progress for two or three years before nutritional disadvantage intervenes. In both America and Europe, Africans have a head start on bone age and dental maturity.

Section B

Q3) Describe in brief synthetic theory of evolution. (20)

Ans) Let us now understand the synthetic theory of evolution in light of the foregoing background of basic evolutionary concepts. This evolutionary theory is based on Charles Darwin's concept of natural selection, Gregor Mendel's basic understanding of genetic inheritance, and evolutionary theories developed by field biologists, population geneticists, and, more recently, molecular biologists since the early twentieth century. It is the current understanding of evolution, which has been referred to variously as "Neo-Darwinism," "Modern Synthesis," and "Synthetic Theory," among other terms. This is a hybrid of Darwinian selection and population genetics theory. The concept, also known as Neo-Darwinism, was developed by three founders of theoretical population genetics, R.A. Fisher, Sewall Wright, and J.B.S. Haldane, in 1930, 1931, and 1932, respectively, and later supported by others, particularly Theodosius Dobzhansky. Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ernst Mary, R.A. Fisher, and George Simpson were among the scientists who helped shape the ‘modern synthesis' theory. Fisher's book, "The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection," is regarded as a classic. While acknowledging the role of natural selection, current understanding of the mechanism of evolution differs significantly from Darwin's original theory.

Gregor Mendel's advances in genetics have led to a sophisticated understanding of the basis of variations, as well as the mechanism of inheritance. DNA has been identified as the genetic material that allows traits to be passed down from one generation to the next, and genes have been identified as discrete elements within DNA. DNA is both variable across individuals and subject to change or mutation, despite being faithfully maintained within organisms. Natural selection is thought to be more important than mutation in Neo-Darwinism, with genetic recombination occasionally resulting in new characters. Most geneticists believed that natural populations contained such a large amount of genetic variability that any genetic change could occur through natural selection without the need for new mutations. The change in gene frequency caused by mutation was much smaller than the change caused by natural selection, according to mathematical geneticists.

The biological sciences now define evolution as the sum total of genetically inherited change in individuals who are members of a population's gene pool, thanks to a better understanding of inheritance mechanisms. Individuals experience the effects of evolution, but it is the population as a whole that evolves. According to modern synthesis, evolution can be defined as a change in the frequency of alleles in a population's gene pool. The modern synthesis emphasises the definition of species as a reproductively isolated group of organisms with a shared gene pool ( The modern theory of evolution's mechanism differs from Darwinism in the following three key ways:

  1. It acknowledges that, in addition to natural selection, there are other forces at work in evolution, one of which is gene drift.

  2. It acknowledges that traits are inherited as discrete entities known as genes, and that population variation is caused by the presence of multiple alleles of a gene.

  3. It implies that the gradual accumulation of small genetic changes is usually responsible for the formation of new species.

In other words, modern synthetic theory is primarily concerned with how genes, phenotypes, and populations evolve.

Q4) Discuss scope of Palaeoanthropology. (20)

Ans) Palaeoanthropology, or the study of human evolution through fossil evidence, is still a contentious field. New findings are constantly being used to support alternative models and propose new candidates for our ultimate ancestor. The amount of fossil evidence has grown over time, and it has been supplemented (and frequently challenged) by molecular data derived from living humans and great apes. Paleoanthropologists proposed as recently as the 1980s that human ancestors dated back to the Middle Miocene, between 17 and 8 million years ago.

The first true hominids, or human ancestors, were South African australopithecines, who lived less than 5 million years ago. There appears to be a huge variety of early humans at various stages of evolution now. A renewed interest in what it means to be Homo sapiens has accompanied this new research on the basal hominids. Molecular and fossil evidence suggests that Africa was also our birthplace, and that we are all descendants of a small founder population that lived there between 50,000 and 200,000 years ago.

Every branch of science is beneficial to humanity in some way. In addition, palaeoanthropology is beneficial in the following ways.

  1. Relaxation and education

  2. Applications in business

  3. Nature's past knowledge

Education and Relaxation

People are very interested in learning about their ancestors, their culture, their habits, and so on. Thousands of people visit museums around the world to see artefacts from the past and other forms of life with which they are unfamiliar. Palaeoanthropology contributes to the general public's curiosity about the evolution of mankind and other major mammals. Palaeoanthropology also has applications in displaying fossils in museums for display purposes, as well as providing great relief to palaeoanthropologists when they discover a rare fossil primate or other mammal that has never been discovered before.

Economic Applications

Gold and other ore deposits have been found using fossils as a guide to the sequence of rocks in the earth's crust. For example, gold occurs in auriferous conglomerate at the base of the Cambrian over vast areas in Australia. The age of the fossils in the overlying sedimentary rocks can be used to determine proximity to these gold-bearing formations. Similar methods have been used to locate coal beds in the United States and elsewhere. Many limestone and fine-grained sandstones with well-preserved fossils can be polished to create some of the most stunning interior wall surfaces. The presence of high uranium concentrations in fossil wood has also been discovered. Uranium can also be found in the bones of dinosaurs and other mammals.

Knowledge of Past Nature

Palaeoanthropologists can reconstruct the palaeoecology, palaeoenvironment, and community structure using their knowledge of the past, which can reveal important information about early humans and their interactions and competition with past fauna and flora, as well as the evolution of man. The study of fossils provides the majority of information about climatic conditions in the geological past.

Q5) Discuss relationship of physical anthropology with forensic science and earth science. (20)

Ans) The relationship between physical anthropology and forensic science is that forensic anthropologists frequently collaborate with forensic pathologists, odontologists, and homicide investigators to identify the deceased, determine foul play evidence, and/or determine the post-mortem interval. In addition to assisting in the discovery and recovery of suspect remains, forensic anthropologists work to determine a deceased's age, gender, ancestry, stature, and distinguishing characteristics from the skeleton. Forensic anthropologists are often referred to as "bone detectives" because they help police solve complex cases involving unidentified human remains by confirming the identities of victims of accidents, fires, plane crashes, war, or crimes like murder. By examining the pelvis, base of the skull, forehead, and jaw, a forensic anthropologist can determine whether the person was male or female. To further explain, males have a more prominent brow ridge, eye sockets, and jaw, whereas females have a broader pelvis. Anthropologists can estimate a person's age by looking at the suture closures in the skull, joints, bones, and teeth.

Anthropologists can estimate a person's weight based on the wear on the bones at different points. The width and height of the nose can be used to determine a person's racial identity. When found with the skeleton, facial or head hair can also help determine race. Physical anthropologists can tell if the person was right-handed or left-handed. A physical anthropologist can also assess the deceased's injury, such as whether or not he was injured or fractured a bone during his lifetime, and whether or not his death was violent. Look for signs of trauma such as stab marks, marks on the skull, broken bones, and bullets or pellets in or near the body to determine all of these warning signs. To reach their decision, the court relies on other evidence or supplements the authentication of other experts with forensic anthropological identification. For facial reconstruction, police use the expertise of physical anthropologists, recreating a face using clues from the skeleton to help them identify the deceased. When a physical anthropologist is asked to create a reconstruction, he begins by extracting as much information as possible from the skeleton, including the most basic and important details such as age, race, and gender.

Relationship of Physical Anthropology with Earth Science

Earth science includes the geologic, hydrologic, and atmospheric sciences, as well as the study of the earth's structural pattern, which sheds light on its various land forms, waters, and the air that engulfs it, how rocks are formed, and the different strata of the earth and their formation. The basic premise on which physical anthropology is based is to recognise the current features and past evolution of the Earth and to exploit this knowledge, wherever found appropriate, for the benefit of humanity. It provides us with a wealth of information about a series of events that occurred in the distant past, and it allows us to learn about the earliest forms of life that thrived on Earth millions of years ago.

This is accomplished by applying geological methodology to the systematic study and analysis of the earth's crusts and different strata of earth bearing fossils as evidence. It has made a significant contribution to our understanding of human evolution as well as various cultural stages of man, particularly when time sequence information is required. Earth Sciences is concerned with the earth's geologic history, the study of fossils and the fossil record, the formation of sedimentary strata accumulated over millions of years, and isotopic chemistry and rock age dating. These are important contributions to anthropology.

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