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Introducing Anthropology: An Integrated Approach, 2/e
Michael A. Park, Central Connecticut State University


Glossary

absolute dating  Dating that gives a specific age, year, or range of years for an object or site.
acculturation  Rapid diffusion of cultural items either by choice of the receiving society or by force from a more dominant society.
Acheulian  A toolmaking tradition associated with Homo erectus in Africa and Europe. Includes hand axes, cleavers, and flake tools.
adapted  When an organism has physical traits and behaviors that allow it to survive in a particular environment.
age sets  A social unit made up of persons of approximately the same age.
agriculture  Farming using animal or mechanical labor and complex technologies.
alleles  Variants of a gene that code for different expressions of a trait.
altruism  Acting to benefit others while disregarding one’s own welfare.
amino acids  The chief components of proteins.
anthropology  The holistic, scientific study of humankind.
apocrine glands  Specialized sweat glands that secrete an odorous substance thought to be related to sexual stimulation.
arbitrary  Here, the fact that the features of human languages bear no direct relation to their meanings but are agreed-on symbols.
arboreal  Adapted to life in the trees.
archaeologist  A specialist in the subfield of anthropology that recovers evidence of the human cultural past and reconstructs past cultural systems.
artifact  Any object that has been consciously manufactured. Usually refers to human-made objects but now includes some items made by other primates.
artificial selection  Selection for reproductive success in plants and animals that is directed by humans. Also called selective breeding.
asexually  Reproducing without sex, by fissioning or budding as in many single-celled organisms.
balanced reciprocity  Giving with expectation of equivalent return. See general reciprocity.
bands  Small autonomous groups, usually associated with foraging societies.
behavioral ecology  See sociobiology.
belief systems  Ideas that are taken on faith and cannot be scientifically tested.
bifacial  A stone tool that has been worked on both sides.
bilateral  A kinship system in which an individual is a member of both parents’ descent lines. See unilineal.
biological anthropologist  A specialist in the subfield of anthropology that studies humans as a biological species.
biological determinism  The idea that human behaviors have a biological basis with minimal influence from culture.
bipedal  Walking on two legs.
brachiating  Moving using arm-over-arm swinging.
bulb of percussion  A convex surface on a flake caused by the force used to split the flake off. Rarely found in a natural break.
carbon dating  A radiometric dating technique using the decay rate of a radioactive form of carbon found in organic remains.
carrying capacity  The maximum population of a species allowed by existing environmental conditions and resources.
caste  A system of socioeconomic stratification in which strata are closed and a person’s membership is determined at birth.
chiefdom  A political organization made up of groups of interacting units, each of which has a chief, or leader.
chromosome  Strands of DNA in the nucleus of a cell.
civilization  Cultures with an agricultural surplus, social stratification, labor specialization, a formal government, rule by power, monumental construction projects, and a system of record keeping.
cladistics  A classification system based on order of evolutionary branching rather than on present similarities and differences.
class  A system of socioeconomic stratification in which the strata are open and a person may move to a different stratum.
classical evolutionism  A synonym for unilineal evolutionism.
cline  A geographic continuum in the variation of a trait.
codify  To arrange systematically. To put into words.
codominant  When both alleles of a pair are expressed in the phenotype.
cognates  Words that are similar in two or more languages as a result of common descent.
co-wife resentment  Tension among the wives of one man in polygynous societies, often caused by differential statuses of those wives.
cross cousins  The children of your father’s sisters or mother’s brothers.
cultural anthropologist  A specialist in the subfield of anthropology that focuses on human cultural behavior and cultural systems and the variation in cultural expression among human groups.
cultural determinism  The idea that human behaviors are almost totally the result of learned cultural information, with few or no instinctive responses.
cultural relativity  Studying another culture from its point of view without imposing our own cultural views.
culture  Ideas and behaviors that are learned and transmitted. Nongenetic means of adaptation.
deduction  Suggesting specific data that would be found if a hypothesis were true. Works from the general to the specific. See induction.
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)  The molecule that carries the genetic code.
dependency  Here, the period after birth during which offspring require the care of adults to survive.
descent line  Nuclear families that are connected over time.
descent with modification  An old term for what we now call biological evolution.
descriptive linguistics  The study of the structure of language in general and of the specific variations among languages.
diffusion  The movement of cultural ideas and artifacts among societies. Cultural borrowing.
diffusionism  An outdated concept of cultural evolution that claims major cultural advances were made by a few or a single society and spread from there to all other societies.
discovery  The realization and understanding of a set of relationships. An addition to knowledge. See invention.
displacement  The ability to communicate about things and ideas not immediate in space or time.
diurnal  Active during the day.
division of labor  When certain individuals within a society perform certain jobs. Usually refers to the different jobs of men and women.
dominance hierarchy  Individual differences in power, influence, and access to resources and mating.
dominant  The allele that is expressed if in a pair of unlike alleles. See heterozygous.
duality  Here, the two levels of human language: units of sound and units of meaning that those units of sounds are combined to create.
ecofact  An unmodified natural object used as a tool.
ecology  The science that studies the network of relationships within environmental systems.
ecosystem  A specific set of environmental relationships. A unit of study within ecology.
egalitarianism  The practice of not recognizing, and even eliminating, differences in social status and wealth.
emerging disease  Any of a group of diseases, of various cause, that have newly appeared or are rapidly expanding their range in the human species.
endocannibalism  The eating of human flesh from members of one’s own society.
endocasts  Natural or human-made casts of the inside of a skull. The cast reflects the surface of the brain and allows us to study the brains of even extinct species.
endogamy  Restricting marriage to members of the same culturally defined group.
estrus  In nonhuman mammals, the period of female fertility or the signals indicating this condition.
ethnocentrism  Making value judgments about another culture from the perspective of one’s own cultural system.
ethnographic analogy  Interpreting archaeological data through the observation of analogous activities in existing societies.
ethnosemantics  The study of the meanings of words, especially as they relate to folk taxonomies.
evolution  In biology, the idea that species change over time and have a common ancestor.
evolutionary psychology  See sociobiology.
experimental archaeology  The process of understanding ancient skills and technologies by reproducing them.
fission  Here, the splitting up of a population to form new populations.
folk taxonomy  A system of classification based on the relationships among cultural categories for important items and ideas.
foraging  Another name for hunting and gathering.
forensic anthropology  A subfield of anthropology applied to legal matters. Usually involved in identifying skeletal remains and assessing the of time and cause of death.
fossils  Remains of life-forms of the past.
founder effect  Genetic differences between populations produced by the fact that genetically different individuals founded (established) the populations.
gametes  The cells of reproduction, which contain only half the chromosomes of a normal cell.
gamete sampling  The genetic change caused when genes are passed to new generations in frequencies different from those of the parental generation.
gender  The cultural categories and characteristics of men and women.
gene flow  The exchange of genes among populations through interbreeding.
gene pool  All the alleles in the population.
general reciprocity  Giving with no expectation of equivalent return. See balanced reciprocity.
genes  Technically, those portions of the DNA molecule that code for the production of specific proteins.
genetic drift  Genetic change based on random changes within a species’ gene pool; includes fission and the founder effect, and gamete sampling.
genotypes  The alleles possessed by an organism.
glaciers  Massive sheets of ice that expand and move.
grooming  Cleaning the fur of another animal; an activity that, in primates, also promotes social cohesion.
habitat  The place occupied by a species; the specie’s "address."
haft  To attach a handle or shaft.
half-life  The time needed for one-half of a given amount of radioactive substance to decay.
hand axe  A bifacial, all-purpose stone tool, shaped somewhat like an axe head.
heterozygous  Having two different alleles in a gene pair.
historical archaeology  The archaeology of a society that has written records.
historical particularism  The American school of cultural evolution that rejected any general theory of culture change but rather saw each society as understood only with reference to its particular history.
holistic  Assuming an interrelationship among the parts of a subject.
hominids  Modern human beings and our ancestors, defined as the primates who walk erect.
homozygous  Having two of the same allele.
horticulture  Farming using human labor and simple tools such as digging sticks and hoes.
hunter-gatherer  A subsistence pattern that relies on naturally occurring sources of food.
hypotheses  Proposed explanations for natural phenomena.
incest taboo  A cultural rule that prohibits sexual intercourse and marriage between persons defined as being too closely related.
indigenous  Native; refers to a group of people with a long history in a particular area.
induction  The process of developing a general explanation from specific observations. See deduction.
industrialism  Sometimes recognized as a subsistence pattern characterized by a focus on mechanical sources of energy and food production by a small percentage of the population.
infanticide  The killing of infants.
inheritance of acquired characteristics  The incorrect idea that adaptive traits can be acquired during an organism’s lifetime and be passed on to its offspring.
intensive foraging  Hunting and gathering in an environment that provides a very wide range of food resources.
invention  The creation of new artifacts. The application of discovered knowledge. See discovery.
kin selection  Promoting the passing on of one’s genes by aiding the survival or reproduction of one’s close kin.
kinship  Your membership in a family and your relationship to other members of that family. May refer to biological ties but in anthropology usually refers to cultural ties modeled on biological ones.
Kulturkreise  ("culture circle")A German school of cultural evolution that proposed a small number of early cultural centers from which cultural traditions spread in ever-widening circles to encompass and influence other societies.
labor specialization  When certain jobs are performed by particular individuals.
language  Human communication by means of shared symbols.
legal systems  A set of secular rules governing the behavior of individuals and institutions within a society.
Levallois  A tool technology in which uniform flakes are struck from a prepared core.
limbic system  A portion of the brain involved in emotions such as fear, rage, and care for the young.
linguistic anthropologist  A specialist in the subfield of anthropology that studies language as a human characteristic and attempts to explain the differences among human languages and the relationships between a language and the society that uses it.
macromutation  A mutation with extensive and important phenotypic results.
magic  Ritual acts through which people attempt to control the supernatural. See sorcery.
market system  Where money is used for exchange in place of goods and services.
marriage  A set of cultural rules for bringing men and women together to create a family unit and for defining their behavior toward one another, their children, and society.
matrilineal  A unilineal kinship system in which an individual is a member of the mother’s descent line.
melanin  The pigment largely responsible for human skin color.
melanocytes  Specialized skin cells that produce the pigment melanin.
men’s associations  A social unit made up of a society’s men. Common in highland New Guinea.
microliths  Small stone flakes, usually used as part of a larger tool such as a sickle.
money  A symbolic representation of wealth. Used for exchange in place of actual products or services.
monogamy  A marriage unit made up of only one husband and one wife.
monotheistic  Refers to a religious system that recognizes a single supernatural being.
morpheme  A unit of meaning in a language.
Mousterian  A toolmaking technology associated with the European Neandertals in which flakes were carefully retouched to produce diverse tool types.
mutation  Any spontaneous change in the genetic code.
natural selection  Evolutionary change based on the differential reproductive success of individuals within a species.
neocortex  A portion of the brain involved in conscious thought, spatial reasoning, and sensory perception.
niche  The environment of an organism and its adaptive response to that environment.
nocturnal  Active at night.
nomadic  Referring to societies that move from place to place in search of resources or in response to seasonal fluctuations.
nuclear family  The family unit made up of parents and their children.
olfactory  Referring to the sense of smell.
opposability  The ability to touch the thumb to the tips of the other fingers on the same hand.
ovulation  The period when an egg cell matures and is capable of being fertilized.
paleontology  The study of life-forms from the past using fossil remains and their geological contexts.
parallel cousins  The children of your father’s brothers or your mother’s sisters.
pastoralism  The subsistence pattern characterized by an emphasis on herding animals.
patrilineal  A unilineal kinship system in which an individual is a member of the father’s descent line.
phenotype  The chemical or physical results of the genetic code.
pheromones  Chemical substances secreted by an animal that convey information and stimulate behavior responses.
phoneme  A unit of a sound in a language.
physical anthropologist  The traditional name for biological anthropologist.
Pleistocene  The geological time period, from 1.6 million to 10,000 years ago, characterized by a series of advances and retreats of polar and mountain glaciers.
political organization  The secular, nonkinship means of organizing the interactions within a society and between one society and others.
polyandry  A marriage system that allows multiple husbands for one woman.
polygamy  A marriage system that allows multiple spouses. See polygynous and polyandry.
polygynous  Refers to a society in which a man may have multiple wives.
polymorphisms  Variations in phenotypic traits that are the results of genetic variation.
polytheistic  Refers to a religious system that recognizes multiple supernatural beings, technically, multiple gods.
postpartum sex taboo  The practice of prohibiting sex for a certain period of time after a woman gives birth for purposes of limiting the birthrate.
potassium/argon (K/Ar) dating  A radiometric dating technique using the rate at which radioactive potassium, found in volcanic rock, decays into stable argon gas.
prehensile  Having the ability to grasp.
pressure flake  Taking a flake off a core by pushing a wood, bone, or antler tool against the stone.
priest  A full-time, trained religious specialist who can interpret the supernatural and petition the supernatural on behalf of humans.
productivity  Here, the ability of human languages to generate limitless numbers of meanings.
prognathism  The jutting forward of the lower face and jaw area.
proteins  Molecules that make cells and carry out cellular functions.
protocultural  A behavior having most but not all of the characteristics of a cultural behavior.
pseudoscience  Scientifically testable ideas that are taken on faith, even if tested and shown to be false.
quadrupedal  Walking on all fours.
races  In biology, the same as subspecies. In culture, cultural categories that classify and account for human diversity.
racism  Judging an individual solely on his or her racial affiliation.
radiometric  Referring to the decay rate of a radioactive substance.
rank  Refers to a society that strives for equal distribution of goods and services but that achieves this through the use of recognized, often temporary, status differences. See redistribution.
R-complex  (Reptilian complex)A primitive portion of the brain involved in self-preservation behaviors such as mating, aggressiveness, and territoriality.
recessive  An allele that is only expressed if present in a matched pair. See homozygous.
redistribution  Where surplus goods are collected centrally and then given out to those persons in need of them.
reification  Translating a complex set of phenomena into a single entity such as a number. IQ test scores are an example.
relative dating  Dating that indicates the age of one item in comparison to another.
religion  A system of ideas and rules for behavior based on supernatural explanations.
revolution  Rapid and extensive culture change generated from within a society.
ribonucleic acid (RNA)  The molecule that, in two forms, translates and transcribes the genetic code into proteins.
savannas  The open grasslands of the tropics, usually with reference to the plains of Africa.
science  The method of inquiry that requires the generation, testing, and acceptance or rejection of hypotheses.
scientific method  The process of conducting scientific inquiry.
sedentary  A human settlement pattern in which people largely stay in one place year-round, although some members of the population may still be mobile in the search for food and raw materials.
semispecies  Populations of a species that are completely isolated from one another but have not yet become truly separate species.
sexual dimorphism  Physical differences between the sexes of a species not related to reproductive functions.
shaman  A part-time, supernaturally chosen religious specialist who can manipulate the supernatural.
social stratification  The presence of acknowledged differences in social status, political influence, and wealth among the people within a society.
sociobiology  The scientific study that examines evolutionary explanations for social behaviors within species.
sorcery  Rituals that attempt to control the supernatural for evil purposes. See magic.
speciation  The evolution of a new species.
species  A group of organisms that can produce fertile offspring among themselves but not with members of other groups.
state  A political organization with one central authority governing all the individual units.
stereoscopic  Three-dimensional vision; depth perception.
stimulus diffusion  When knowledge of a cultural trait in another society stimulates the invention of a similar trait.
strata  Layers; here, the layers of rock and soil under the surface of the earth, or the socioeconomic levels within a society.
stratigraphy  The study of the earth’s strata.
subsistence pattern  How a society acquires its food.
subspecies  Physically distinguishable populations within a species. The concept, as a formal taxonomic unit, is falling from use.
symbol  Something that stands for something else, with no necessary link between the symbol and its meaning.
syncretism  The synthesis of existing religious beliefs and practices with new ones introduced from the outside.
syntax  Rules of word order in a language.
taxonomy  A classification using nested sets of categories of increasing specificity.
test pit  An exploratory, usually small excavation made to establish the presence or absence of an archaeological site.
theory  A general idea that explains a large set of factual patterns.
tribe  A political organization with no central leader but in which the subunits may make collective decisions about the entire group.
unilineal  A kinship system in which an individual is a member of only one parent’s descent line. See bilateral.
unilineal evolutionism  An outdated concept of cultural evolution that claims all societies pass through the same series of stages from savagery to civilization.
worldview  The collective interpretation of and response to the natural and cultural environments in which a group of people lives. Their assumptions about those environments and the values derived from those assumptions.