I chose to explore the website for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. I do not have a very in-depth background of physical or biological anthropology so a lot of the information presented on this website was very new to me. I do, however, have a very good background in both biology and chemistry, studying both for several years, so it was extremely interesting to me to find connections with the work that physical anthropologists do and the types of natural science I have already seen.
The website, in its introduction, mentioned that physical anthropology deals with the adaptations, variability, and evolution of human beings and their living and fossil relatives. I think this is interesting to highlight because physical anthropology coers a much larger span of topics than I originally thought. The fact that it looks at, not only biological issues today, but throughout history makes it much more comprehensive than I imagined it to be.
As I explored the website, I chose to look at the “News” section. One of the articles that caught my eye talked about pathology and osteology in Medieval Transylvania. The article detailed how human remains from a medieval funerary mound were uncovered and in what ways they were being looked at. The remains in the article were actually separated from the rest of the community and the research workshop was looking to understand why. The workshop was going to look at pathogens in the skeletal material, bone remodeling and infections diseases. I found really interesting the extent to which biological anthropology seems to be inter-disciplinary. In the short article biology, chemistry, archeology, biological anthropology, pathology and evolutionary biology were all mentioned.
Another article I looked at talked about workshop on Dental Wear. It mentioned that it would focus on understanding process contributing to dental wear, the relationship between macro and micro wear on teeth and general trends in tooth wear between diets and behaviors. This article was actually really interesting because, personally, I usually assume that biological anthropology studies are more historical than modern. This article struck me because it mentioned that it was looking at both historical dental wear but also dental wear of people today. I also honestly did not really realize that dental wear would be worth studying or that it was part of human culture but after reading the article I understand more of why researchers would maybe want to study this part of human culture.
Through looking at these and many other different articles on the website for the AAPA, it is more obvious for me to see how biological anthropology can be connected to anthropology as a whole. Before exploring this website, I did not really understand why or how biological anthropology actually could be connected to discussions about culture because I assumed it was more connected to the natural sciences, like biology. However, after looking at these articles I can see that the way in which people’s biology changes or adapts in a certain way can force them to have to change culturally as well. This can also be said vice versa where cultural changes might affect biology of a certain group. Through looking at biological anthropology I do think we can gain a greater understanding of how culture works throughout the world.