The Basic Areas of Human Biology Study

Human beings are the products of millions of years of evolution by natural selection. Sometime in the last 5 million years, natural selection created a creature with a very large brain that walked upright, was adept at making and using tools, developed language, and came to rely heavily on imitation, social learning, and culture. Biological anthropologists study all facets of this process. Biological anthropology is interesting and important because an evolutionary perspective provides a rich source of insight about why we are the way we are.

The program in biological anthropology at UCLA focuses on four areas of research:

  • Evolutionary Theory: Mathematical studies of how evolutionary processes work.
  • Primate Behavior: Field studies of free ranging primates that aim to show how natural selection has molded the bodies and behavior of our closest living relatives.
  • Hominid Evolution: Studies of the fossil and archaeological record which help us understand the ecological and social factors that have shaped human evolutionary history.
  • Evolutionary Psychology and Ecology: Field and laboratory studies of of contemporary human psychology and behavior rooted in the evolutionary paradigm.

…we place strong emphasis on evolutionary processes that mold behavior. (We) are commited to understanding how these processes have shaped the behavior of living primates, fossil hominids, and contemporary humans. We take the role of culture seriously..(and) share an interest in how and why culture emerged, and how culture interacts with other processes to shape behavior.


One thought on “The Basic Areas of Human Biology Study

  1. This includes some duoble-counting. From the report (PDF):Since children and teens often use more than one medium at a time—watching a TV show while perusing their Facebook page, for example—these totals do not re$ect the actual amount of time out of a day that young people are devoting to media (one hour of watching TV and using Facebook equals two hours of media content but only one hour out of the teenager’s day).Factoring in this media multitasking, the Generation M2 study estimated the total amount of time spent using at least one type of media each day at just under six and a half hours (6:22) for White youth, just over nine hours (9:14) for Hispanic youth, and just under ten hours (9:44) for Black youth.It is also important to remember that young people may well be doing something else at the same time that they are using media—for example, getting dressed, riding the bus, going for a run, doing homework, or eating dinner. But for those six or nine or nearly ten hours each day, whatever else they are doing they are using at least one, and often two or more, types of media. And they are managing to consume eight and a half to 13 hours worth of media content in that time period.

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