Physical Anthropology

What is Physical Anthropology?

Physical anthropology looks at human origins and evolution. The concern is with the biological/genetic heritage of Homo sapiens and the diversity among the world's peoples today.

Have you ever wondered:

  • How language and other cultural developments influenced the success or failure of hominid species?
  • About Homo habilis, the toolmaker, our direct ancestor of 2 million years ago?
  • Why the Neanderthal began to disappear about 50,000 years ago?
  • What the study of DNA can tell us about the migrations of early peoples and the relationships among peoples today?

These topics are examined as part of Introductory Anthropology (110) every year, offered in two different time slots, and there is the possibility of a directed study course (ANTH 499) to pursue specialized interests.

Career options cover a wide range in academic anthropology (teaching and research) and in applied situations. For example, the design of products (clothing, machinery); links with medicine, the history of disease (paleopathology) and forensic anthropology which concerns the identification of recent skeletal remains for legal purposes are all areas of employment.