Paleoanthropology has always sparked my interest. I had often confused it with archaeology because of the similarities between the two fields, but after the lecture, I have a better understanding.
Paleoanthropologists study ancient artifacts and fossilized bones to gain an understanding of when, where, how, and why the human species evolved. Once they are able to answer those questions, they can piece together the evolution of the human species.
Archaeologists participate in the field work. They actively dig up, restore, and analyze ancient buildings, artifacts (such as tools and art), and human remains. After these remains are discovered and analyzed, archaeologists can explain the culture of historic people.
Basically, paleoanthropology would not be successful without archaeology.
I chose to research the Paleoanthropology Society. It was founded in 1992 and is currently directed by, its president, John Yellen. The other officers of the society are Treasurer Alison Brooks and Secretary Eric Delson. The society publishes journals and newsletters on a regular basis and are accessible by members and nonmembers. These articles contain information about current work and recent findings that relate to the paleoanthropological field.
Not only does the Paleoanthropology Society publish their own articles, but they also publish dissertations for graduate students. There is a process each student must go through in order to qualify for publication. Each student must submit an abstract that pertains to the society’s work and what they are trying to represent, and if it meets the requirements, the student is allowed to send in a dissertation for publication.
Along with the publication of students’ dissertations, the society will also cover travelling expenses for graduate students who wish to attend and present a paper at their meetings. The Paleoanthropology Society holds a meeting once per year. They are normally joined by the American Association of Physical Anthropologists or the Society for American Archaeology.
There are multiple sources of information provided by this organization that relate to a variety of anthropological subfields; which is the reason I researched the society.
The Paleoanthropology Society has one mission. According to the society’s website, their mission is “to bring together physical anthropologists, archaeologists, paleontologists, geologists and a range of other researchers whose work has the potential to shed light on hominid behavioral and biological evolution” (Paleoanthropology Society). Our assignment was to choose an organization that relates to all fields of anthropology. The Paleoanthropology Society does exactly that. In order for their association to thrive, they gather information from multiple anthropological fields and incorporate it in their work. They value all of the information provided by professionals, groups, non-U.S. researchers, and students.
The society demonstrates the importance of educating anyone who wants to learn about paleoanthropology and making sure it is easily accessible.