Tuttle, Russell H. The College of the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Last reviewed:November 2019
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- Comparative primate morphology
- Molecular anthropology
- Primate behavior and ecology
- Human variation
- Human adaptability and ecology
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The subfield of anthropology that deals with human and nonhuman primate evolution, the biological bases of human behavior, and human biological variability and its significance. Physical anthropology is a branch of anthropology that investigates the evolution and diversity of humans, as well as their extinct ancestors and related nonhuman primates (Fig. 1). Physical anthropology is often referred to as biological anthropology to signal the close links with other biological sciences. The term physical anthropology is largely an American and British invention; in most European and many other countries, physical anthropologists are the only anthropologists, whereas persons who study behavioral aspects of the human condition are known as archeologists, ethnologists, linguists, or prehistorians. In addition, the term human biology is often used instead of physical anthropology, especially in relation to curricula in the health sciences. See also: Anthropology; Archeology; Biology; Evolution; Human biological variation; Primate
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