What is Anthropology and What are the major subfields Essay

Submitted By speakup718
Words: 719
Pages: 3

What is Anthropology and what are the Major Subfields?

When the question of what is Anthropology is raised amongst most individuals, the answer can sometimes be one that is unquestionably vague as Anthropology varies in different subfields. Anthropology is the study of humans, past and present to understand the complexity of various cultures. In addition, Anthropology builds upon knowledge from social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences. Anthropology consists of four subfields which are Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, and Linguistic Anthropology. This essay will demonstrate the variations of these four subfields and what each subfield entails. Archaeology is the scientific study of past cultures and the way people lived solely based on the things they left behind which includes, but not limited to artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes. The primary purpose of archaeology is to study the undocumented and/or unwritten parts of history. Studies have proven that over 90% of today’s history has been discovered through the study of archaeology. Archaeologist pride themselves on doing extensive research to satisfy the mission of conquering the mystery of prehistoric cultures as many significant developments in human history occurred during prehistory, including the evolution of humanity during the Palaeolithic period also known as the old stone age. There are a substantial amount of theories one has to determine before practicing the act of Archaeology; for one, cultural-history archaeology, which presents the idea of explaining why cultures changed and adapted to particular circumstances rather than just drawing attention to the fact that they did change. While the other theory has a lot to do with the study of past societies with direct continuing links to the existing ones. Biological Anthropology studies the physical development of the human species. This subfield of Anthropology serves as an imperative stint in paleoanthropology which is the study of human origins, bioarchaeology the study of past populations, and in forensic anthropology the analysis and identification of human remains for legal purposes. The main objective of the Biological Anthropologist is to investigate not only the physical form of humans such as the bones, muscles, and organs; but also how human’s functions allow survival and reproduction. In order for Biological Anthropologist to get a better understanding of how humans evolved from earlier life forms they research and observe primates as primates are the closest things to humans. The studies of primates show the nutrition, child growth, health in societies, the genetics of human populations, and adjustment to the environment. Meanwhile, Cultural Anthropology main focus is learning about the cultural aspects of human societies all different parts of the world. The focal point of Cultural Anthropologist’s research is on things such as the social and political organizations, marriage patterns, subsistence and economic patterns, and religious…