In modern day, anthropology is a recognized social science with two broad fields and several branches or subfields.
Okay. First, what are the two broad fields?
They are physical anthropology and cultural anthropology.
Let me give you a brief description of each.
Physical anthropology is concerned with the development of man as a mammal.
Related subjects are anatomy, biology and paleontology.
Physical anthropologists study the evolution of the human species.
One way they do this is by examining the fossils of what were once living creatures and living primates.
Those include human beings. Common fossils are shells, bones and molds and imprints.
These are found buried in the earth or permanently frozen in glaciers.
Living primates are analyzed in order to study the mechanics of evolution and genetic differences among human populations.
Ok. Next, let's talk about cultural anthropology.
This field is the study of learned behavior in human societies.
Most cultural anthropologists will limit themselves to a few geographic areas, for example, Margaret Mead in Samoa and New Guinea, and Clyde Kluckhohn, with the Navajo Indians in the southwestern United States.
I should mention that Kluckhohn's work, which is Mirror for Man, is considered one of the best introductions to anthropology.
Cultural anthropology and the scientific study of human culture will be discussed in more detail in our next lecture.
Today we just take a brief look at the subfields of cultural anthropology.
They are archaeology, linguistics, and ethnography.
So, what is archaeology? It is the study of different cultures through material sources, through historical objects that still remain today rather than direct interviews or observations of the group under study.
One famous example of archaeological study is King Tut's Tomb near Luxor, Egypt, which was discovered in 1922.
Another subfield of cultural anthropology is linguistics, as I said just now.
As you probably know, linguistics is the study of language as communication among humans.
Culture is learned and transmitted primarily through language.