Blog one: American Association of Physical Anthropology

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.

3 thoughts on “Blog one: American Association of Physical Anthropology

  1. Hi Margaret,
    I love your post! I wrote about The American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA), too! I like how we focused differently on the website. I loved the news block better and I wanted my introduction to be more specific, so I introduced more content in the news block, for example, one of the post announced that a German university is hosting a workshop to discuss their human skull data software in October. I like how you focused on their resources, awards and events, such as the monthly journal and the yearly meeting. I feel like that you are those people who focuses more on the larger scales where I’m the one who focuses on details! But overall, good job! I enjoy reading your post. I hope I read your post before I constructed mine, because I would been talking more about the big scale and the website structures. Thanks for the post, good job:)


  2. Hello Margaret!
    Thank you so much for your post! It sounds like this is an incredibly helpful organization in a multitude of different ways. I really like how they have separated it into different committees that convene annually. This ensures that topics are viewed in a more interdisciplinary approach which can be useful for looking at both the breadth of the subject and the depth of certain topics.
    I also appreciate how much the organization gives back to students. Not only does it supply valuable information for anthropologists, but it also provides grants and awards which, as you stated, help bring recognition to the field and to that specific student/anthropologist so they are able to receive more help.
    Judging by some of the research projects you listed, it sounds like the journal this organization publishes will be a valuable tool for the class we are in right now (which I will most likely be using often).
    Great job!
    -Summer Ort

  3. I definitely agree that Physical anthropology is a very important subfield because understanding how humans have evolved and is a crucial part of understanding the species as a whole. Doing that it helps us learn and even create things to help extend life and better life/ species. For example creating vaccines to make our body immune over time to certain diseases so that our species can thrive and not die out.

    I find the recent research published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology about the physical adaptations to a high protein diet in Neanderthals, very interesting. I myself am a pescetarian and supports the high protein diet 100%, but instead of meat I do so by eating fish and other foods high in protein.

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