The American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) is an important contributor to the field of anthropology. Formed in 1930, there are now over 1,700 members internationally. They hold annual conferences with over 1,000 attendees to discuss research in the physical anthropology field. Within the association there are 13 committees, including career development, diversity, education, and ethics. All of these committees work to improve these areas of anthropology. There are also awards given out and presentations by the various committees. These annual meetings are a great opportunity for members of the international physical anthropology community to talk about what research has been done and where there still needs to be more research. The greater field of anthropology is the study of humankind. Physical anthropology, also known as biological anthropology, is the study of human evolution past and present and physical differences within the species. This is a very important subfield because understanding how humans have evolved is a crucial part of understanding the species as a whole.
They have a monthly journal, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, which publishes over 100 scientific papers every year. Publishing papers is important in order to showcase the research being done by anthropologists and helps to further research in the field. The AAPA also serves as a great resource to connect physical anthropologists from around the world and provide updates on what is new in the field. It is especially helpful for those that may be looking for positions in the field. They post job openings in the field at different universities, as well as describing what working in different fields is like. They also offer descriptions and summaries on many physical anthropology graduate programs around the world. For anyone who might be interested in working in the physical anthropology field, this organization offers an incredible amount of helpful information.
Some of the current research recently published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology includes physical adaptations to a high protein diet in Neanderthals, the endocast of a one-million-year-old human cranium, and how the mass of the human skeleton has changed. The research they publish encompasses a wide range of topics, but most have an evolutionary basis as that is one of the main focuses of physical anthropology. The AAPA also publishes an annual Yearbook of Physical Anthropology. This is a compilation of the most recent and important literature to have been published in the field that year.
The American Association of Physical Anthropology gives out awards annually, including a lifetime achievement award, service awards, and awards to students. These add to the field of anthropology because they draw attention to important work that is being done in the field that might not be so widely recognized otherwise. They also give out professional development grants. Research can be expensive and hard to get funding for, so it is a great contribution to the field to help fund some of the current physical anthropology research.
From their annual conferences, to their monthly and annual journal publications, to their job postings, the AAPA is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the physical anthropology field. Not only do they help physical anthropologists all over the world, but they further the work being done in anthropology in general.