The anthropology examines past ways of human life through the interpretation of organic remains, material culture, written records, and oral traditions. This science has own four subfields:
It studies the evolution of the human body, behavior and mind from a bio-cultural perspective. Biological anthropology inferred through study of fossils and comparisons with anatomy of other primate species and their behavior. It also includes the primatology, forensic anthropology, subdisciplines of paleoanthropology, analyses of modern human health and disease, molecular anthropology and bioarchaeology.
Its object of study is living societies and cultures. It explores the diversity of existing human ways of life. Cultural anthropology studies the methods people work, the ways they change, and methods of their interrelation in the modern world.
It examines the interrelation of language, culture, and human cognition as well as the diversity and the structure of language and related human communication systems. It deals with the documentation and description of live and extinct languages.
It studies potsherds, tools, animal bones, the ruins of buildings, and many other types of objects to learn the ways people lived in the past. Archaeologists study both historic cultures and prehistoric ones too. The studies of archaeology are used to examine topics such as the evolution of technology, the appearance of complex societies, the emergence of agriculture and how societies change over long periods of history.
In spite of the fact, that four these subfields seem quite diverse in their specific subjects and methods, are they all considered parts of the single discipline of anthropology. The reason is that there are many different approaches to study of human life with all its aspects, and one single discipline cannot consider all of them. For example, the only real connection between archeology and linguistics is that humans created both and both are products of a single culture.
Descent with modification is related to the passing on of features from parent organisms to their offspring. It is also called heredity, and its basic unit is the gene. Every aspect of an organism is held by genes: its growth, behavior, development, physiology, appearance, reproduction.
It happens that passing is not exact all the time. Some of the genes maу be cоpied incorrectly or genes of one parеnt are combіned with the genеs of another one orgаnism. Individuals that are more fit and suitable for their environment better, are likely to pass thеir genes to the nеxt genеration than those indivіduals that are not.
There are three basic concepts in explaining how the theory of descent with modification works: individuals are selected, genes mutate and populations evolve. It is necessary to understand that individuals and genes do not evolve, but populations. And genes may mutate and influence on individuals in a different way. Populations change over time as far as individuals with different genes are selected.
Nowadays anthropologists recognize several behavioral and physical features that tie humans to primates. The last ones have excellent vision and more developed nervous system. Primates are also very dexterous. They have opposable thumbs and it is easier to them operate objects. Basically primates also have five fingers and the same amount of toes on each hand and foot. Talking about unique features of human, it is worth to admit the theory of mind. It is about an ability to attribute desires, intents, beliefs, knowledge etc. All primates have behaviors which quite complex and stereotyped in nature and which lack flexibility of human behavior. Singularity of human refers to an ability to actively colonize new habitats in spite of any other primates.
Australopithecus and Paranthropus are genera of prehistoric human.
Australopithecus is an extinct genus of hominids. According to investigation of archaeologists and palaeontologists, it appears that the Australopithecus genus evolved in eastern Africa. They used to live in grasslands rather than in wooded areas. Among their features were strong bones, especially developed skulls, strong muscles. They were bipedal hominidis.
Paranthropus is also a genus of extinct hominins. Also known as robust australopithecines, they were bipedal hominids as well, that probably descended from the gracile australopithecine hominids. They usually are characterised by robust craniodental anatomy, including gorilla-like sagittal cranial crests. They had broad, grinding herbivorous teeth and strong muscles of mastication. Basically, Paranthropus is like modern gorilla. It is thought to have lived in wooded areas rather than the grasslands. Paranthropuses had smaller braincases than Homo, yet they had significantly larger braincases than Australopithecus. This genus is associated with stone tools both in eastern and southern Africa.
Most scientists are about to agree that those two genera are separate lineages, with several significant evolutionary trends that distinguish them. However, they share even more of the same evolutionary trends. It seems safe to call these separate lineages, but a vocal protest exists among those who see a monophyletic lineage
The variation of skin color is not used to define human races because of it is only an evolutionary adaptation. Species of human moved farther from its origins and it began the evolutionary process of adapting to new environment. Some scientists claim that genes (and in this way color of skin) do not define the belonging human to particular race. Among the representatives of one race there was significant amount of features of another one. That is why it is impossible to define human races by the color of skin.