The scientific discipline concerned with the behavioural and biological aspects of the human being, the related non-human primates and the extinct hominid ancestors is known as biological anthropology. It can however be also known as physical anthropology which is made up of various fields such as: paleoanthropologist human nutrition, primatologist, and human ecology among others( Relethford 102).
Paleontology is a Greek word that refers to the study of history and the evolution of human beings. The study also explains the aspects of similarities in its family. This study is done by making observations on the remains of the ancient man, his tools, artifacts, footprints, fossils, and any other related evidence. However as technology sets in, the use of genes in this study is taking root.
This is the study of the nutrients that the human body is in need of for survival. The study covers the various roles that nutrients play in development of the human body as well as their various sources (McArdle, 45-60). The major classifications of nutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, mineral salts, fats, fibers and water. The body can survive without consumption of food for some period of time if a person takes water. In such a period, the body survives on nutrients stored up in the body like fats.
The human body is made up of several components like water, different mineral salts, fats, carbohydrates etc. The study of the nutrients that man is supposed to consume are aimed at knowing what nutrients would be of benefit to the body and in what proportions. Experiments to determine how much was absorbed by the body are conducted and the stool studied to establish what was not absorbed. Such tests, however, take time in reaching a conclusion about the findings
Nutrients in the human diet can be absorbed in high or low amounts hence the classifications that are macronutrients and micronutrients. Macro means large, meaning that this is those nutrients that are needed in high amounts. Similarly, micronutrients are those needed in small rations. The micronutrients are vitamins and minerals salts while all the rest are in the macronutrient classification.
The main role of macronutrients is in the provision of energy as well as the structural components in which the body built. For instance, the cell membrane if formed from Lipids and proteins from amino acids. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats provide energy internally at different rates. The energy consumption is usually measured in terms of Calories which is denoted by ‘C’.
Carbohydrates mainly provide the body with energy which is availed in the form of blood sugars. Carbohydrates can exist in different form like maltose, glucose, sucrose or fructose depending on its source and they vary in the rate of absorption into the body.
Proteins are also very essential as they aid in formation of the mainly body structure as well as enzymes which enable different chemical processes to take place. Proteins have amino acids which help the body produce its own proteins to repair and replace aging or damaged body tissues.
Vitamins and mineral salts are the other nutrients that the body requires to carry out different roles. Different vitamins or minerals have different roles. For example vitamin A improves the proper working of the Australopithecus which vitamin D maintains the skins. Mineral salts like iodine prevent the disease called goitre.
Early hominid evolution
The hominids are words that denote the family taxonomy of man. This study depends heavily from fossils which have been discovered in different parts of the world (Reed, 220). This study is therefore intertwined with paleoanthropologist which is the study of fossil remains and paleontology, the study of man.
The study of the evolutions dates back to the early years when the human species seems to have diverged from their closely associated ape family otherwise called the hominoids species. This diversification took place approximately six to eight million years ago. Even with the existing evidence being fragmented, it is still enough to justify the many shared characteristics between the hominids and the hominoids. This evolution of the early hominids has been divided into different phases according to the evidence available.
Early hominids -This is the first and oldest group to be discovered. It is assumed to have existed around six to eight years ago, however considering the time difference, the evidence to accompany it is very minimal. The remains were obtained in Europe and Ethiopia. These remains can be mapped with those of apes to display the evolutionary changes of what is assumed to be the ancestors of the human kind.
The next primate is the australopithecines. There is not a lot about their behavior except the fact that they stopped in the forests and went to the open areas. This is attributed to the fact there might have been competition although they later moved back due to their inability to adapt to the new environment. They are estimated to have existed five million years ago.
Australopithecus aphaeresis was next to evolving and they are believed to have existed 4 million years ago. It evolved again into Australopithecus Africanus which seemed to have a more complex genetic composition. Another species that displays some of similarities to man is Australopithecus robustus.
This is the study of primates that are non- human. This branch of study encompasses people from different other departments like psychology and anthropology (Gerald, et al,78-85)Mainly Primates are used in research and experiments involving diseases since they exhibit the closest genetic composition to human beings. This means that the people who identify as primatologists are also experts in other fields like veterinary studies, conservation or even general scientific research.
The primatologists use the method of observation either in their natural habitats or in the laboratory but in either scenario they must avoid influencing the primates so as to bring out their unbiased behaviors. Primates have been observed to use stone tools to open up nuts. The use of stone tools is among the behaviors that the early hominids displayed which creates the need for people to establish whether or not human beings originated from primates.
Laboratory observation and experimentation allows the primatologists to conducts more accurate control test and thus their inferences as compared to field observations. However the accuracy of the observations is also dependent on the discipline in question.
This is the study of variations that exist in genetic composition of varying populations .The study focuses on the appearance of living organisms that is attributed to the genetic traits and the combination of alleles in the corresponding chromosomes which are responsible for different traits. It also deals with the changes that take place over certain constrains like their environment or the time that elapses. The significance of this study is for researchers to be in a position to account for the changes that took place in the earlier generations of man as well as forecast the likely changes that could occur to the present man causing him to evolve into another form.
The study attempts to investigate the factors that cause variability in genes. The study is not just limited to human beings but rather anything that has got life. For instance, wild animals have been restricted to small forests which then translate to them only being in the same environment which makes them suffer from lower variations. They have also been hunted down which reduces their numbers a d in extension the possibility of their variations.
The spread of AIDS
AIDS is an acronym that stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. This is a syndrome meaning that is weakens the immune system of a human being allowing him to contract many diseases. This syndrome is caused by a virus called Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This virus only survives in the human blood meaning that it can only be transmitted to human beings alone and not animals( Morris,12-18.
The virus is commonly spread by indulgence in sexual intercourse and sharing of syringes with persons who are infected. It is also transmitted by exchange of body fluids which include blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal discharge. However for transmission to occur, there has to be contact of the fluids by means of a mucous membranes or the presence of a damaged tissues that allows them to mix. It can also be spread during pregnancy or during birth especially in cutting of the umbilical cord or in blood transfusion although the possibility is a little bit lower as compared to those previously mentioned.
The document covers the major topic of biological anthropology. This topic covers the branches of paleoanthropologist, human nutrition, primatologist, population genetics, and the evolution of early hominids. It has also covered the spread of HIV/AID.
Gerald, Melissa S., et al. “Formal method for objective assessment of primate color.” American Journal of Primatology 53.2 (2001): 79-85.
McArdle, William D., Frank I. Katch, and Victor L. Katch. Exercise physiology: nutrition, energy, and human performance. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2010.
Morris, Martina, and Mirjam Kretzschmar. “Concurrent partnerships and the spread of HIV.” Aids 11.5 (1997): 641-648.
Reed, Kaye E. “Early hominid evolution and ecological change through the African Plio-Pleistocene.” Journal of human evolution 32.2-3 (1997): 289-322.
Relethford, John. The human species: An introduction to biological anthropology. Mayfield Publishing Company, 1990. Print