Physical and Cultural Anthropology: Analytical Overview

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Physical Anthropology

When our species first evolved we have experienced transition some changes were universal, while others were essentially more national. The noticeable shifts in global populations include a reduction in both the average body size and brain size, as well as a decline in the proportions of the jaw and the tooth. In response to different climates and lifestyles, regional populations have developed various physical and genetic characteristics.

Smaller bodies

Generally speaking, we are shorter, thinner, and smaller boned today than our ancestors were 100,000 years ago. The decline has been steady, but in the last 10,000 years, it has been most significant. In the last going years, however, there has been some minor change in this pattern as the average height has started to increase. Factors that affect the size of the body are complex. They include genetic, economic, and behavioral factors, such as diet and technology.

Height of Homo sapiens over the last 40,000 years

This knowledge is focused on the average European male heights as there are better figures for this population, but the general pattern is worldwide. Forty thousand years ago: European males-6 feet (183 cm). The Cro-Magnon people were the first modern humans to visit Europe (Homo sapiens). These hunter-gatherers lived a physically challenging lifestyle that would require greater strength in the body than today's average person. Their recent African ancestry may also have influenced their height, as tall, long-limbed constructions are useful adaptations to the warmer African climate. Ten thousand years ago: European males-162.5 cm (5 ft 4 inches). This time, there was a drastic decrease in the number of humans. Many scientists think that global climate change and the introduction of agriculture affected this reduction. Owing to failed crops and a more limited diet, rural communities suffered from malnutrition. In addition, a close association with domestic livestock has introduced new diseases into human populations. Six hundred years ago: European people-165 cm (5 ft 5 inches). Bad diet and wellbeing were, at this time, the main reasons for shorter stature. Today: European males-5 ft nine inches (175 cm). The last couple of years, there has a rise over height. This rise is, in part, due to a better diet and health care. There may also be a genetic correlation, as global growth and urbanization have brought genetically separated people together and reduced the effect of inbreeding due to a greater mix of populations and their genes.

Smaller brains

There has been a movement towards a larger brain over the last two million years, which has influenced many species in our family tree. This phenomenon has seen a turnaround in our own species, and our brains are now the smallest over the last 100,000 years they have been at any time. This decline has happened largely over the last 6,000 years. Human brains are now about 100-150 cubic centimeters smaller on average than when human species first emerged.

Smaller teeth’s and jaws

Within our own species, the trend towards smaller jaws and teeth that were seen in our ancestors has persisted. In fact, some people today lack the space in their jaws to accommodate their third molars or wisdom teeth. Generally, those improvements took place in proportion to a reduction in body size. But dietary shifts and development have played a significant role over the past 10,000 years. There has been a reduction in size in Homo sapiens 'jaws and teeth over the past 30,000 years. Nevertheless, this pattern over the last century has seen a minor change as teeth have grown in size. It is in part due to fluoride incorporation, which thickens dental enamel, rendering teeth a little bigger some of the teeth people having in the past are as under:

Physical diversity: All one species but looking different

Today humans exhibit an immense variation in appearance, but in early Homo sapiens, this variation was not evident. Members of our species in Africa and had developed similar physical characteristics to survive in that environment. As humans began expanding about 100,000 years ago to various areas of the planet, they experienced a number of different climatic environments and developed new physical adaptations that were more adapted to such new climates. Recent DNA studies (since 2007) confirm that during this time, genetic traits have modified or adapted to new environments. The rate of DNA transition, and hence the rate of evolution, has actually accelerated in the last 40,000 years. Areas of the human genome also tend to be being selected for issues like body structure and skin color.

What is next for the human species?

It is impossible to predict what's in store for humanity because technology is so quickly changing the environment. 'There's some concern out there that the genetic manipulation will take over the future of evolution with an enigmatic group of scientists in white coats,' Stearns said. 'If we like to or not, we've already altered our potential path of development, and it's not being achieved by a small group of people who are consciously thought and preparing, it's being achieved as a by-product of thousands of everyday decisions being introduced with technology and culture.' 'And we don't really know where it's going,' he said, adding, 'once you're embracing the ideology in it community more realistically, we may inevitably see future generations of humans take on a range of shapes and sizes, depending on their host planet and the conditions best suited to our species 'survival.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology is a branch that focuses on the study of human cultural variation. This compares with social anthropology, which perceives cultural variability as the anthropological constant's branch.

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Describes the ongoing process of convergence of national economies, communities, and cultures into a worldwide contact and execution network. Globalization has been the catalyst for societal changes are taking place in society today.

Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology that focuses on the study of human cultural variation. It compares with social anthropology, which perceives cultural variability as the anthropological constant's subset. Cultural anthropology got a rich methodology, including participant observation. Since humans acquire culture through enculturation and socialization learning processes, people living in different locations or different situations create different cultures. Anthropologists have also found out that people can adapt to their environment in non-genetic ways through culture and people who live in different environments often have different cultures. A great deal of anthropological theory has led to an understanding and interest in the conflict between the (particular cultures) and the global (universal human existence, or the network of relations between people in different places/circumstances). The rise of cultural anthropology took place in the sense of the late 19th century when questions were raised as to which cultures were 'principled.' Increasingly, colonialism and its mechanisms put European thinkers into direct or indirect contact with 'primitive others. The relative position of various human beings, some of whom had advanced technological technology that included engines and telegraphs, while others lacked more than face-to-face communication methods and still lived a Paleolithic lifestyle, was of concern to the first generation.

Key Difference – Past vs Present Society

While there is a clear difference between past and present lifestyles, the difference between these two definitions may vary according to employment, access to modern facilities, equipment, education, and lifestyle. There are several areas in the world where many new services and technological advances are not available. The distinction between past and present lifestyles may also be a very subjective issue, and the variations here may vary in the context of different people. The main difference between past and present lifestyles is that a simple, traditional, home-based lifestyle with a self-sufficient economy and simple tools can be defined as a past lifestyle. On the other hand, the modern lifestyle is dynamic, practical, comfortable, and stylish, highly technological, and based on a profit that maximizes the economy of production. However, the complexity or sophistication of the lifestyle may depend on the level of income, geographic location, and culture. We may compare and contrast past and present lifestyles in many different areas such as behaviors, people's feelings and people's thinking power, eating habits, clothes, housing, transportation, use of equipment and machinery, education system, economy, and so on.

Difference between Past and Present Lifestyles in terms of Attitudes, Feelings, and Thinking Capacity

Attitudes and Feelings

Past: People's behavior in the past should have been more positive because they had no complicated cultural, social, or political issues. Therefore their perceptions and emotions have become much clearer than they are today.

Present: People today are more educated, more open, and freer to express their opinions. The nature of their current lifestyle has made their behaviors and experiences more complex.

Thinking Capacity

Past: Given the lack of technology and devices such as calculators, computers, etc., our ancestors were smart and had high capacity for thinking. The technology that we have used today is the result of their inventions. On top of that, we were still unable to find out any of their work. Ex: Pyramid constructions, ancient irrigation systems.

Present: People's cognitive potential has broadened. Even a person with limited capacity for thinking has the potential to develop it through schooling, access to books, magazines, and the internet. New technology may also have a detrimental effect on intelligence. Some people, for instance, use the internet to search for answers to their problems without critical thought.

Past and Present Lifestyles in terms of Food Habits

Changes in Food Habits

Past: Before the Stone Age, people used to eat vegetables, leaves, and everything from the forest that they find. However, this practice changed into hunting animals, storing food items, and planting and growing vegetables, which eventually led to the cultivation of various crops such as wheat, wheat, and rice. People were healthy, rarely suffering from diseases, and never needed extra exercise because their daily work kept their bodies going.

Present: We have now converted farming into mass production, including equipment, technology, pesticides, and weedicides, all of which came in with the green revolution. Agriculture and the conventional farming society turned upside down with the Green Revolution. As for now, farmers who can cope with the multi-national cooperation and its large-scale, costly goods, pesticides, and high-yielding seed varieties continue to grow crops for the market. Yet even today, the traditional, low-income farmers, especially in Asian countries, are in a dire state. Quick food is another important factor in modern eating patterns. While this is convenient for many people, it contributes to other health problems. People today are obese, they need medication, and they have food and exercise machines works.

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Physical and Cultural Anthropology: Analytical Overview. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
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