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MANI-002: Physical Anthropology

MANI-002: Physical Anthropology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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 2022-23 session students studying in MAAN courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MANI 002/AST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: MANI-002

Assignment Name: Physical Anthropology

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are two sections ‘A’ and ‘B.’ Attempt any five questions in total and at least two questions, from each section. 20x5


Section A


Q1) What is physical anthropology and discuss its branches.

Ans) Physical Anthropology studies human evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptation and variety, primatology, and fossils. Physical Anthropology reflects today's specialised scientific environment. The discipline helps us investigate the genetic, environmental, and historical causes of variation. Biological anthropology studies human and nonhuman primate evolution, the biological basis of human behaviour, and human biological variability and its significance. Physical anthropology is a predominantly American and British notion.


Branches and its Development

Physical anthropology was once synonymous with measurements, indices, and statistics. Regardless of study aims, observation, measurement, and comparison were used. Physical anthropology, often termed biological anthropology, focuses on human physical development. Its role concerns man, hence, it's broad. Physical Anthropology has many subfields. New branches emerge depending on the field area.



  1. Human Growth and Development: Physical anthropology studies maturation. From a one-cell zygote to an adult human. Human growth and development focuses on growth phases, patterns, and the effects of nutrition, environment, and genetics. Population growth studies reflect diversity among them and the nation's growth rate.

  2. Human Genetics: Human genetics studies gene inheritance in humans. It's behind most human qualities. It answers questions regarding human nature, diseases and treatment, and human genetics.

  3. Primatology: Anthropologists study primates to learn more about human nature. Physical anthropology studies hominids, including man's ape-like forebears and other big apes.

  4. Human Evolution: This branch focuses on Homo sapiens' genesis and evolution as a species. In human evolution, human refers to Homo. Hominid studies is important for understanding human evolution.

  5. Palaeoanthropology: Palaeoanthropology studies fossil hominid bones, footprints, and teeth. It also includes human osteology, which studies human evolutionary remains. It's a predecessor of physical anthropology's fundamental branches. Palaeoanthropology uses fossils, artefacts, geology, and burial sites to study human evolution.

  6. Human Osteology: Human Osteology studies bones. forensic science often uses osteology evidence. It holds essential information on health, disease, physique, early population genetics, identifying unknown remains, criminal investigations, war atrocities, etc.

  7. Human Ecology: Ecology studies organisms' interactions with their environment. This environment includes temperature, water availability, wind, soil acidity, and the organism's biological habitat. Human ecology includes environmental adaption.

  8. Nutritional Anthropology: This discipline of physical anthropology describes how social and cultural factors cause nutritional disorders or detect nutrition-related health problems. Nutritional Anthropology is growing due to people's health concerns.

  9. Molecular Anthropology: Molecular anthropology is a relatively recent field of physical anthropology. It helps understand evolutionary relationships between ancient and current humans and between species.

  10. Anthropological Genetics: Genetic approaches are utilised to learn about human divergence from apes, hominid population size and origin, and anatomically modern human migrations.

  11. Genetic Anthropology: This new field combines DNA data with physical evidence and historical civilization histories. This helps scientists piece together genetic information to explain how Homo sapiens evolved over millennia.

  12. Dental Anthropology: This branch uses teeth to investigate humans and extinct primates. Dental anthropology is practised by dentists, anatomists, radiologists, forensic scientists, biochemists, geneticists, archaeologists, palaeontologists, and zoologists.

  13. Ergonomics: Ergonomics is the study of work and a person's relationship to it. Ergonomics is the study of creating equipment and systems to fit the human body, its movements, and job.

  14. Demography: A specific population's size, growth rate, density, vital statistics, and distribution are used in demography to show the uniqueness and movement of that people.

  15. Population Genetics: Population genetics studies population genetics, allele frequencies, and genotypes. Physical anthropology deals with natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, and mutation.

  16. Human Variation: Human variety is replacing race in anthropology due of its exploitation. It's recommended to employ gene frequencies and biological features by geographic location.


Q2) Highlight the acclamatory adjustments of human beings in extreme of cold conditions.

Ans) Acclamatory describes reversible physiological responses to stress in the environment. Acclimatization has been documented in three different habitats, including the cold, the desert, and high altitudes. Perhaps one of the most challenging environments for people to live in is the Arctic. It was settled relatively late in the past of humans, and people eventually adapted to the climate. Low temperatures are the main environmental stressor in the arctic.


Human core body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius on average (98.6-degree F). Hypothermia sets in when the body's core temperature drops below 34.4 degrees Celsius (94 degrees Fahrenheit), and at 29.4 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit), the hypothalamus in the brain loses its ability to control body temperature, leading to death. Frostbite is brought on by prolonged exposure to cold that causes tissues to freeze. It typically affects exposed body regions like the fingers, toes, and earlobes. The rise in basal metabolic rate is one of the acclamatory adjustments that is most significant.


The quantity of heat produced by the body per unit time at rest is the basal metabolic rate, which refers to the minimal amount of energy needed by the body to maintain vital bodily functions. In adults, this growth may reach 25%, whereas in new-borns, it may reach 170%. The increased basal metabolic rate causes an increase in body heat production, but it also necessitates that people consume foods with high nutritional values. These areas' native diet, which primarily consists of protein and fat, provides the necessary dietary kinds. Long-term residents in polar regions get fewer cold-related illness.


Acclimatization and Extreme Cold

At an ambient temperature of roughly 310C (87.8°F), the naked human body at rest starts to fight hypothermia. The crucial temperature is the name given to this temperature. As a result, the person creates heat to raise body temperature and decreases heat loss from the body to the environment. Peripheral vasoconstriction is a crucial mechanism for heat preservation. The capillaries beneath the skin are constricted, preventing warm blood from rising to the skin's surface, where a large portion of the body's heat would otherwise escape into the atmosphere.


Exercise generates extra body heat deliberately, whereas shivering generates it involuntarily. Heat is produced when muscles are working hard. However, depending on a person's physical condition, exercise can only be done for short periods of time. Shivering is more significant. Shivering results from the brain's hypothalamus stimulating higher muscle tone in response to low body temperature. The rate of heat production can increase five times faster than usual at the height of shivering due to the enhanced muscle metabolism.


Q3) Discuss Sheldon’s method of somatotyping. Discuss its merits and demerits.

Ans) American psychologist and physician William Herbert Sheldon. In "The Varieties of Human Physique," he coined the term "somatotype" and proposed the idea. "Quantification of three basic components influencing the morphological structure of a person expressed as a series of three numerals, the first relating to endomorphy, the second to mesomorphy, and the third to ectomorphy," is how he described somatotype. The conceptual approach is grounded in the idea that the distribution of physique exhibits continuous variation, and that this variation is associated to the differing contributions of three distinct components, named after the three embryonic germ layers:

  1. Endomorphy: It is distinguished by the predominance of the digestive organs as well as the body's soft, rounded outlines.

  2. Mesomorphy: It is distinguished by the dominance of bone and muscle, and the skin is thickened by dense connective tissue. The body is typically thick, rigid, and rectangular in shape.

  3. Ectomorphy: It has a linear build that is prone to fragility, little muscular development, and a body composition that favours surface area over mass.




According to Sheldon, the somatotype is a trajectory that a person in average nutritional condition and the absence of a serious illness is predestined to follow. He referred to the current physique as the "morpho phenotypic," and the genetically determined physique as the "morphogenetic." He insisted that somatotype did not alter over time because it does not alter noticeably for any measurements other than where fat is deposited.

  1. Somatotype is not objective, according to Sheldon, who asserted that the subjective technique has been elevated to a scientific and objective level by taking measurements from photos. He created his own anthropometric technique, which relies more on the soft component shape in the image than on osseous landmarks.

  2. Endomorphy and ectomorphy are essentially the opposites of one another, hence there are only two fundamental components rather than three.

  3. Somatotype's first measurement technique simply took into account body shape, not body size.

  4. On adult males, the somatotyping technique was created. There are no documented definitions of somatotype components in females or children.

  5. He utilised an arbitrary scale with a maximum and minimum rating of 7 and 1 for each component, and a maximum and minimum aggregate of 9 and 12.


Sheldon responded to these critiques by describing a new Trunk Index method that was created using the ratio of the thoracic and abdominal trunk regions measured on somatotype photographs:

  1. This index is taken to be constant over the course of a lifetime. It's probable that as life phases progress, the ratio of the thoracic trunk to the abdominal trunk stays constant, even while the sizes of the two areas fluctuate in respect to one another.

  2. He claimed that the new approach offered three measurements: an indicator of massiveness, a way to distinguish between endomorphy and mesomorphy in terms of mass types, and a measurement of the extent of stretching out into space. This is what ectomorphy is when the other two characteristics are known.

  3. This new approach substituted height for ectomorphy as a size measurement.

  4. These modifications allow the sum of the somatotype components to now range from sums of 7 to 15, rather than being restricted to sums of 9 to 12.

  5. The 76 somatotypes in the first matrix increased to 88. 267 results from the trunk index matrix.




Q1) Discuss Palaeoanthropology.

Ans) Palaeoanthropology is a branch of palaeontology and anthropology which seeks to understand the early development of anatomically modern humans, a process known as hominization, through the reconstruction of evolutionary kinship lines within the family Hominidae, working from biological evidence and cultural evidence. By locating the fossilised remnants left by our earliest ancestors, this research examines the evolution of man. First, according to Comas, palaeoanthropology is "the study of hominid and anthropoid fossil remains, their accurate interpretation, and ultimately, the potential establishment of phylogeny for our own species."


Principles of Palaeoanthropology

  1. Identification: Any investigator must be as knowledgeable about the subject at hand as possible because incomplete information can result in incorrect conclusions. For species identifications, a fossil is frequently too imperfect or the group to which it belongs is not well understood. However, anyone familiar with his subject of study can typically recognise class, order, and family. A detailed comparison is required for this.

  2. Form and Function: It is possible to understand the habits of extinct primates, as well as those of other animals or plants, by examining the structure of a fossil and drawing comparisons with modern organisms. The fossil's shape then provides hints as to how it operated in the environment in which it lived.

  3. Associations of Plants and Animals: The types of sediments in which plants and animals are buried and plant and animal assemblages provide information about the local environmental conditions in the past. It is important to understand that a palaeoanthropologist sees fossils as living creatures that were once part of their environment, not as dead things.

  4. Evolution in the Different Groups of Organisms: Any variety of plant or animal can be traced back to a more basic ancestor form through the transmission and alteration of genetic traits. In some groups of species, changes happened more quickly than in others, or they might have happened far more quickly in some at particular times.

  5. Dispersal and Distribution of Plants and Animals in Time and Space: The evolutionary development of animals and plants in the orders, groups, and genera, as well as the appearance of their fossils in the rock sequence of the earth's crust, form the basis of much of the evidence for dispersal and distribution.

  6. Correlation: The majority of a palaeoanthropologist's time is spent trying to recognise the synchronisation of biological and geological events that is evidenced by the rocks that make up the earth's crust and figuring out whether these events took place in different continents or in nearby mountains and valleys. The biological processes illustrated by the fauna of Black Hawk Ranch may seem quite obvious to the average person, but palaeoanthropologists would like to know what species of primates, animals, and plants were present in Europe, America, and Australia at that time.


Q2) What do you understand by applied physical anthropology? Discuss its application in Kinanthropometry and genetic counselling.

Ans) The discipline of anthropology has evolved into something more than just an academic one. A growing understanding of what anthropology has learned and can uncover can be seen in recent years. Making theoretical anthropological information useful is the fundamental principle of practical anthropology. An expert in one or more fields of anthropology can be an applied anthropologist. Physical anthropologists use their knowledge to create clothing and other items that are tailored to the human body. They also play a vital role in giving forensic evidence in court.


When anthropologists studied underprivileged individuals in various cultures and realised the need for their rehabilitation, applied anthropology emerged in the United States. In order to better people's lives, anthropologists are actually involved in analysing and solving the issues in their own culture today. There is currently a need for applied anthropologists to gradually enhance their involvement in earlier stages of planning and to support businesses by resolving a variety of problems.


Anthropology is a biological study that is population-based and not person-specific. Whatever conclusions are drawn, they are based on statistics, and because they involve a population that is simply too diverse, their conclusions are probabilistic. It is crucial for doctors or other health professionals to keep in mind this component of anthropological study while working with anthropological data. Physical anthropology is likewise concerned with evolutionary viewpoints, and its practical application can help people make their living conditions more analogous to their biological adaptations as humans.



Kinanthropometry, a specialised branch of physical anthropology, is the study of sports. Physical anthropology that focuses on maturation, nutrition, and body composition evaluates an individual's physical make-up in connection to their gross motor abilities or functional capacity. The performance of an athlete in sports is influenced by a variety of elements. These elements in turn are influenced by both environment and genetic make-up. A sportsman's accomplishment is mostly driven by phenotypic variances in size, physique, body composition, metabolic abilities, strength, speed, and skill as well as cardio-vascular adaptations.


A genotype can be partially shaped by environment through training and motivation. Kinanthropometry's main objective is to identify the genotypes that are most likely to help people realise their maximum potential, therefore it looks for people with the right genetic make-up for a given sport. Coordination of body motions requires more than simply muscular power. Physical anthropologists are responsible for choosing the athletes who have greater potential to excel in a certain activity than the competition; training and other outside factors can only slightly alter a person's morphological status within the genotype-determined boundaries.


Physical anthropologists can also reduce the financial effects by spending as little money as possible on those who, because to their poor anthropometric standards, are less prepared for a particular sport. A physical anthropologist would use his judgement to select the right person for a sporting event. To maintain desired amounts of various bio-chemical determinants, it is relatively difficult to change the genotype's capacity.


Genetic Counselling

The human being gains a lot from genetic counselling. The affected parties must be informed of the nature of the mutant condition. It is the responsibility of the genetic counsellor to inform those who are affected. Providing the issue is inherited in a Mendelian manner, it is possible to assess the likelihood of producing affected offspring once the issue is known. Only the person in question is ultimately responsible for the decision to take a risk.

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