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Anth Exam 4 pt 2


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Name popularized by E.O. Wilson for the evolutionary study of animal social behavior.
Evolutionary psychology
Approach to understanding the evolution of human behavior patterns in the context of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness
Environment of evolutionary adaptedness
According to evolutionary psychologists, the critical period for understanding the selective forces that shape human behavior; exemplified by hunter gatherer lifestyles of hominids before the advent of agriculture.
Human evolutionary ecology
Approach to understanding the evolution of human behavior that attempts to explore ecological and demographic factors important in determining individual reproductive success.
Cognitive universals
Cognitive phenomena such as sensory processing, the basic emotions, consciousness, motor control, memory, and attention that are expressed by all normal individuals
Cross-cultural universals
Behavioral phenomena, such as singing, dancing, and mental illness
that are found in almost all human cultures, but are not necessarily exhibited by each member of a cultural group.

Payment offered by a man to the parents of a woman he wants to marry.
Inbreeding depression
Lesser fitness of offspring of closely related individuals compared with the finesses of offspring of less closely related individuals, caused largely by the expression of lethal or debilitating recessive alleles.
A violation of cultural rules regulating mating behavior.
Motherese (infant-directed speech)
Emotive spoken language used by mothers and other adults when addressing prelinguistic babies and children.
Biomedical anthropology
The subfield of biological anthropology concerned with issues of health and illness.
The quantitative study of the occurrence and cause of disease in populations.
Incidence rate
The number of new occurrences of a disease over a given.
Prevalence rate
The number of existing cases of a disease divided by the population (or the population at risk).
Organisms and entities that can cause disease.
Substances that cause birth defects or other abnormalities in the developing embryo or fetus during pregnancy.
The onset of a girl’s first menstrual period
The post reproductive period in the lives of women, after the cessation of ovulation and menses.
Whole or part of an invading organism that prompts a response(such as production of antibodies) from the body’s immune system.
Proteins (immunoglobulin’s) formed by the immune system that are specifically structured to bind to and neutralize invading antigens.
Biological profile
The biological particulars of an individual as estimated from their skeletal remains. These include estimates of sex, age at death, height, ancestry, and disease status.
The study of what happens to the remains of an animal from the time of death to the time of discovery.
When is it advantageous to be a low or high risk taker according to evolutionary models?
High risk takers can gain social prestige, possibly by hunting large animals, thus attracting more mates and improving their reproductive fitness.
Low risk takers can further their own reproductive success by doing less dangerous things and ensuring their offspring’ survival.

What is the Westermarck hypothesis?
Siblings raised together develop an aversion to seeing each other as reproductive partners when they are adults, siblings must be in proximity to one another during a critical period, usually thought to encompass the first 5 years of life.
Give an example of a cognitive universal.
Senses, Emotions, Memory, Attention, Language, Motor Control
Give an example of a cross-cultural universal.
Kinship, Gender roles, Social roles
Explain how and/or when minor depression could serve as an adaptive response.
Grief in the group could help group cohesion
How does a biomedical anthropologists approach issues of health and illness? How does this differ from other health and social sciences?
Biomedical anthropologists approach issues of health and illness with evolutionary theory within a cultural context. Health and social sciences consider cultural practices and genetic differences in some aspects of health (e.g., higher/lower prevalence rates of conditions by ancestry, age, sex); however, evolutionary processes (differential survival and reproduction) and timescales are seldom incorporated.
What social factor(s) affected the change in top causes of death in the US from 1900 – 2000?
The three big causes of death in 2000 –heart disease, cancer, and stroke –are all primarily diseases of old age, accounting for 60% of all deaths. In 1900, these three diseases accounted for only 16% of deaths. People were dying primarily from infectious diseases. As sanitation, medical care, and nutrition improved in the US, infectious disease prevalence rates dropped dramatically.
What five “Darwinian approaches” are used by biomedical anthropologists to understand human disease?
a. Defenses versus defects-A defect results from the disease process itself, whereas a defense is part of the body’s attempt to fight the disease.
b. Infection and “Arms Race”-As our bodies evolve defenses to fight them; they too are evolving to combat our defenses.
c. Environmental mismatch-Human bodies did not evolve to deal with most aspects of modern life, including fatty diets, low reproductive rates, and noise. Thus certain diseases may be considered to be the result, in whole or part, of the mismatch between our bodies, adapted for life in a hunter gatherer environments and contemporary environments.
d. Pleiotropic gene effects-Genes that did not lead to adaptations in past environments being expressed in news ways at the present.
e. Design Compromises-An adaptation that leads to mostly being beneficial, can lead to a cost, i.e. Lower back pain in humans

How does the pattern of growth in humans differ from other non-human primates?
For lemurs, macaques, gibbons, chimps, and humans gestation length increases with increased life span respectively. Bogin proposed that humans have an extended period of learning (adolescence) that is vital to our complex social environments. Human females have a long postreproductive period not present in other primates.
When are the highest and lowest periods of growth during human life?
The highest periods of growth during human life is from birth to ~2 years of age (infantile period) and during the adolescent growth spurt. The lowest periods are after reaching maturity and just prior to the adolescent growth spurt.
Describe the secular change of growth and potential causal factor(s) of this trend.
Children are growing larger and maturing more rapidly with each passing decade. The trend is a result of better nutrition and a reduction in infectious diseases during infancy and childhood. Migration studies show that changes in the environment (from a less healthful to a more healthful environment) can lead to the development of a secular trend in growth. Studies also show that children of migrants born and raised in their new country are taller and heavier than their parents were. Studies show that children living in poverty have a shorter stature than other children likely due to reduced nutrition and medical care.
What are the potential causes of an increasingly early onset of menarche for young females in the US?
The early onset on menarche may be the result of the secular trend in growth discussed above. In cultures undergoing rapid modernization, changes in the age of menarche have been over short periods of time corresponding to the secular change in growth. Additionally, increases in the use of artificial hormones (e.g., estrogen, progesterone) in milk and meat have been proposed as causal mechanisms for early onset of menarche.
What is the grandmothering hypothesis?
Humans are the only species that live beyond the reproductive period. The grandmothering hypothesis proposes that postmenopausal women enhance inclusive fitness or the survival and reproduction of offspring by provisioning children and grandchildren as well as providing information to daughters about raising children successfully.
What are the causes of aging?
Accumulated damage to DNA, in the form of mutations caused by radiation and other forces, leads to poor cell function and ultimately cell death. Another model of aging focuses on the damage that free radicals can do to the tissues of the body. Free radicals are molecules that contain at least one unpaired electron. They can link to other molecules in tissues and thereby cause damage to those tissues.
Two non-adaptive evolutionary models of aging are the disposable soma hypothesis and the pleiotropic gene hypothesis. Both take the position that old organisms are not as evolutionary important as young organisms. The disposable soma theory advocates that it is more efficient for an organism to devote resources to reproduction rather than to maintenance of a body. Pleiotropy refers to the fact that most genes have multiple phenotypic effects. This model shows that a much higher proportion of organisms live long enough to reach the early reproductive phase than do the proportion who survives until the late reproductive phase.

Why may there be an environmental mismatch between the diet humans were selected for and the western, industrialized diet? What are the potential health consequences of this mismatch?
Human bodies were selected for a hunting/gathering lifestyle and now are mismatched to an industrialized diet (high in fat/meat, low in vegetal matter). Combined with low activity levels, humans are more susceptible to childhood and adult obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related health issues. This mismatch has also been proposed as one factor influenceing early onset of menarche in young females.
Name one cultural practice that has influenced the evolution of disease agents in human populations.
An example of the influence of cultural practices on the spread of an infectious disease involves a condition known as kuru. In New Guinea, it was a cultural practice to eat a piece of a kin when that person dies. This promoted the spread of prion disease. Eating tissues like the brain can start to deteriorate the central nervous system.
Medical practices in the United States have shown an increased use of artificial antibiotics that kills off the more common illnesses, but selects for pathogens to become resistant to antibiotics.

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