|  Biological Anthropology  |  Overview

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Overview

Biological Anthropology

Culture is central to our survival. However, the shared ideas and behaviors that comprise our vast human culture (and cultures) take residence in our biology. Enculturation occurs in the neocortex of our brains and is enacted by our unique physiology. Our culture-bearing brains find expression through an anatomy equipped with features such as stereoscopic vision, prehensile digits and habitual bipedalism.

Biological anthropologists seek to describe and explain the human organism. They study what is unique about our anatomies as well as the many traits we share with our cousins the primates—a study known as primatology. Biological anthropologists also study paleoanthropology —the study of human evolution. Paleoanthropologists investigate how our species developed via the evolutionary processes of natural selection.

Evolution by natural selection is first and foremost an explanation. It is an explanation of how the biological world has come to take its present observable form and an explanation of the observable past forms it has taken. Culturally speaking, there are many such explanations around the globe. Natural selection, however, is unique in that it is based on a method of investigation called science.

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