Anthropology as Part of Studying Human Evolution

Anthropology as Part of Studying Human Evolution

Evolution according to anthropology is the development of the human form both socially and physically, which factors in the development of cultures and the formation of societies. Evolution is the basis on which anthropology is built. Anthropology is concerned with the impact evolution has on the status of the society with regards to the evolution.

Physical anthropology is the study of the evolution of man biologically. It explains why the current animal, inclusive of the human being, forms are as they are. It explains, for instance; why the human beings lost their tails and hair during evolution. Anthropology studies such phenomena in detail.

Anthropologists study evolution by examining the fossils and the areas where they are found. For instance, a big jaw for an anthropologist would offer a lot of information with regards to the environment where they were discovered. Anthropologist generally study the circumstances surrounding the formation of a physical evolution of people and their cultural practices. For instance, the investigation on why the human form has far less hair at the moment as compared to the initial man who was very similar to the apes. 

The cultural anthropology has been underexploited for a long time. The project “Rethinking Culture is looking to change the situation. The study seeks to find a way to exploit culture as a way of storing information twice. The mental storage and the external storage of the same information. There are ways in which culture ensures that information stored in the environment. For instance; the carvings in caves in Egypt have information that shows the society was a farming society. This type of information cannot be found in the physical information from the bones (Colby, Voight, & Schneider, 1973). The tools discovered in these areas also contribute a great deal to the cultural anthropological study.

Cultural anthropology is the study of the development of the social practices that have grown to form the cultural practices of the society. For instance, there must have been something that made some societies favor monogamy while others see nothing wrong with polygamy yet they all evolved from the same ape. The cultural anthropology is the subfield that would undertake the study of such phenomena. It is the specification of anthropology to study past occurrences and explain why things are as they are now. Cultural anthropology takes care of the explanation of how things are done at present in varying fashions.

An anthropologist investigating the evolution of culture needs to study extensively the changes that a particular cultural undertaking has gone through. The aspects of monogamy could have been brought about by the low population of the women in the society or the excess of men in the society making it necessary for them to develop a sharing culture. As a result, the monogamy in the present society is encouraged and polygamy seen as a new and unfamiliar undertaking. An anthropologist will want to take into account the reasons that led to the development of such cultures in various parts of the world. The same issue of marriage in Africa has been quite the opposite with polygamy being normal as opposed to monogamy. An anthropologist will study the two cultures from their origin and ensure that they can explain why the cultural differences emerged.

Cultural anthropology has resulted in the discovery of the origin of people living in communities. The trend began as a protection mechanism. When the first fire was made, the people at the time were hunters and gatherers. The state changed when they started taming crops and animals. Gradually, people found out that they needed each other and families started living closely together. The cultural anthropology project at this point explores the intimate relationships in Philippines. The project focuses on the space of women in the society have the freedom to express themselves in Siquijor, how intimacy is viewed as form of personal exchange and how the Siquijodnon understand their formations as people (Bulloch, 2012-2015). This project is about the culture in Philippines and how it affects their day to day lives. 

The study of physical anthropology and cultural anthropology differs in many ways. For starters, physical anthropology studies the biological changes by man while the cultural anthropology is a study of the social change in societies. There are similarities in cultural and physical evolution because they both occur as a result of necessity. It means that they evolve gradually to suit the needs of the environment or as a result of a push by the environment. The cultural evolution can compare to physical evolution because both have continued to express the distinction between the human beings and other animals. It is also as a result of evolution that the human beings are able to solve more of their problems by adjusting the cultures to suit their new needs and prevent calamities. The cultures that prevent for instance the intermarriages between immediate families which have the potential to result in disabilities in the offspring. This evolution is both cultural and physical. The culture makes it a taboo and the physical harm is prevented.

The two evolution studies differ where the physical study is about the biological formation of the human beings regardless of their cultural background or origin. The cultural study on the other hand factors in the reason why the people now speak as they do, work as they do and basically how they ended up in the geographical region they are at presently. The studies also differ in their methods of analysis of data. The cultural studies focus on the environment that the human beings have formed around themselves and continue to pass the same down to their new generations. Cultures can be chose while the physical form cannot. The studies of cultures are therefore broader compared to the physical anthropology studies.

It has been interesting to learn that the physical evolution of man is largely dependent on the environment. The physical evolution that resulted in loss of hair on the bodies of man was the discovery of warmer areas where the hair was not necessary for keeping them warm. The human form also has also changed the limbs from looking like four hands to the feet. The evolution has been gradual and hardly noticeable which means it could be happening at the moment as well. It has been enlightening to know that evolution of cultures was also dictated. The Philippine study of intimate relationships as part of cultural anthropology has been enlightening. The intimate relationships have been for the longest time overlooked in the study of human evolution. It is interesting to find out how now it is being studied and many interesting things have been coming to light. The project focuses on the role of women in the cultural intimate relationships. The women are a wealth of information in as far as intimacy is concerned. They are the pacifiers of the society.


Bulloch, H. (2012-2015). Intimate Relationships and the Politics of Personhood in the Philipines. Retrieved from School of Anthropology and Archaeology Research School of Humanities and the Arts ANU College of Arts and Social Science:

Colby, B., Voight, W., & Schneider, D. (1973). Rethinking Culture: A Project for Current Anthropologists. The University of Chicagop Press Journals, 357-372.

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