ABO blood type: polymorphic trait that is controlled by a single gene with three types of alleles: A, B, and O

acclimatization (acclimation): process of adjusting to a change in environment allowing an individual to maintain physical capabilities across a range of environmental conditions

adaptation: heritable trait that aids the survival and reproduction of an organism in its present environment

adaptive radiation: diversification of a group of organisms into forms filling different ecological niches, ultimately resulting in multiple speciation events

adenine: nitrogen base that pairs with thymine in DNA molecules and uracil in RNA molecules

adult development: period of human development that follows adolescence

aging: process of growing older

agricultural intensification: increase in agricultural production per unit of inputs such as labor, land, time, seed, or other resources

agriculture: human subsistence pattern in which the majority of food comes from domesticated species is the product of an extended process

allele: alternate version of a gene

Allen’s rule: principle stating individuals in populations of the same species located in warm climates near the equator tend to have longer limbs than individuals in populations located in colder climates further from the equator

allopatric speciation: occurs when biological populations of the same species become isolated from each other to an extent that prevents or interferes with gene flow

ambilineal descent: form of cognatic descent where individuals can switch between patrilineal and matrilineal descent

analogous structures: similarities between organisms that do not share a common ancestor

ancient archaeology: archaeology of cultures that wrote texts but lived before the historical era

anthropology: social science that focuses on the study of what makes us human

antibodies: proteins that counteract a specific antigen when it enters the body

antigen: substances that stimulate an immune response through the production of antibodies

antiquarianism: study of history with particular attention to ancient artifacts, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts, but omitting attention to behavior behind these objects or locations

applied anthropology: sub-discipline of anthropology that applies skills from other four sub-disciplines to address social issues

arboreal: living in trees

archaeological context: immediate association of artifacts and features found within an area or layer, and the relationship of this area or layer to what lies above and below it

archaeology: sub-discipline of anthropology that studies culture using material remains

archaic humans: populations in Africa, Asia and Europe in the period contemporary to and predating the emergence of anatomically modern humans 200,000 to 100,000 years ago

Archean eon: geologic eon of Earth’s history, occurring 4.0 to 2.5 billion years ago, when simple forms of life resembling modern bacteria had emerged

Ardipithecus kadabba : early fossil hominin species found in East Africa with ancestral dental traits intermediate between apes and modern humans

Ardipithecus ramidus : early fossil hominin species found in East Africa that displays evidence of bipedalism and arboreal activity

artifacts: portable examples of material culture

Australopithecus: fossil hominin genus of at least seven species found in East and South Africa from 4.0 to 1.0 million years ago

Australopithecus afarensis : early Australopithecus species found in East Africa displaying traits that strongly reflect almost exclusive bipedality; thought to be a direct ancestor of modern humans

Australopithecus africanus : Australopithecus species found in East Africa contemporaneous with P. aethiopicus, Au. garhi and P. boisei; likely ancestor to P. robustus

Australopithecus anamensis : earliest known species of Australopithecus found in East Africa; likely ancestor of Au. afarensis

Australopithecus deyiremeda : early Australopithecus species found in East Africa; contemporaneous with Au. afarensis

Australopithecus garhi : later Australopithecus species from East Africa; contemporaneous with Au. africanus and P. aethiopicus and likely ancestor to genus Homo

Australopithecus platyops : early Australopithecus species found in East Africa with a uniquely flat face; contemporaneous with Au. afarensis

Australopithecus sediba : later Australopithecus species from South Africa that displayed traits found in Australopithecus and Homo; contemporaneous with P. robustus

autosomes: 22 pair of non-sex chromosomes in humans

baktun : 400 years in the Maya Long Count calendar

balanced polymorphism: when homozygous and heterozygous genes exist in a state of relative stability, or equilibrium, within a population

belief: trust in the existence of something not susceptible to rigorous proof

Bergmann’s rule: principle stating larger body sizes are observed in populations that live farther from the equator or in high-altitude regions

binocular vision: vision using two eyes with overlapping fields of view, allowing good perception of depth

binomial nomenclature: taxonomic system of naming organisms using two names, the first indicating the genus, and the second indicating the species

bioinformatics: science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes

biological anthropology: sub-discipline of anthropology concerned with the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings, their extinct hominin ancestors, and related non-human primates, particularly from an evolutionary perspective

biostatistics: branch of statistics that deals with data relating to living organisms

biotechnology: use of artificial methods to modify genetic material of living organisms or cells to produce novel compounds or to perform new functions

bipedalism: ability to habitually walk on two legs

blended inheritance: early concept of inheritance where parental traits produced an intermediate physical appearance in offspring

bonobos: one of two extant species making up the genus Pan; great ape native to the Congo River Basin of Central Africa

brachiation: suspensory hand-over-hand swinging movement used in arboreal locomotion

bureaucracy: system of government in which most of the important decisions are made by state officials rather than by elected representatives

Calendar Round: combination of tzolkin and haab, which does not repeat the same combination of days for 52 years

Cambrian Period explosion: event at the start of the Paleozoic Era, approximately 541 million years ago when the rate of diversification of life rapidly accelerated and the variety of life began to resemble that of today

carnivore: animal that feeds on flesh of other animals

Catarrhines: primate taxonomic infraorder that includes Old World monkeys, apes and humans

catastrophism: perspective proposing that the geology of the planet and the fossilized animals it contained were a consequence of catastrophic events occurring during a relatively brief past

cell membrane: outer lining of the cell

Cenozoic Era: geologic era of Earth’s history, occurring 65 million to the present, when the continents assumed their modern geographic positions and plant and animal life evolved toward those of today

centriole: organelle that plays a key role in spatial arrangement of the cell during cell division

ceramic seriation: relative chronological ordering of ceramic vessels based on changes in form, style, and decoration

ceramicist: specialist in the analysis and interpretation of pottery

Cercopithecids: primate taxonomic superfamily that includes Old World monkeys

chimpanzees: one of two extant species making up the genus Pan; great ape native to the forests and savannahs of tropical Africa

chromosome: distinct, tightly coiled strands of DNA

chronological context: time period in which the artifact was used

chronometric (absolute) date: placing of an event in its chronological position with reference to a universal time scale such as a calendar

Circumscription Hypothesis: Robert Carneiro’s hypothesis about the development of complexity in which social and environmental circumscription led to competition over resources

cities: permanent nucleated settlements of large groups of people that contain living areas, administrative areas, ceremonial precincts, and perhaps market areas

Classical archaeology: archaeological study focusing on the ancient Greeks and Romans and cultures affected by them

clinal distribution: measurable gradients in a biological trait of a species across its geographical range

cline: a gradation in one or more characteristics within a species or other taxon, especially between different populations

cloning: creation of a genetically identical copy of an organism

codons: sequences of three nitrogen bases in RNA molecules that determine the assembly of amino acids during protein synthesis

collapse: when a complex society breaks down abruptly or disintegrates over a certain period of time

complex economic system: economic system that exhibits a combination of reciprocal, redistributive, and market mechanisms

complexity: a diverse and integrated system or organism

conservator: specialist in the conservation and preservation of archaeological remains

contemporary archaeology: field of archaeological research that focuses on the most recent (20th and 21st century) past, and also increasingly explores the application of archaeological thinking to the contemporary world. It has also been referred to as the archaeology of the ‘contemporary past’

context: setting or circumstances in which artifacts are found

continuous variation: range of small differences from one extreme to another that we see among individuals

convergent evolution: occurs when species have different ancestral origins but have developed similar features

core: source material for stone tool production

corporate anthropology: field of applied anthropology that applies theory and method from cultural anthropology to areas of business like marketing, advertising, product design, and internal efficiency

cranial capacity: size of the brain cavity in the skull

creation “science”: pseudoscientific attempt to use the Bible as scientific fact and nullify scientific evidence for evolution

creationism: religious belief that nature, and aspects such as the universe, Earth, life, and humans, originated with supernatural acts of divine creation

Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction: event at the end of the Mesozoic Era, approximately 65 million years ago, where approximately 75% of all life became extinct

cultivation: aiding and manipulating plant growth through human action

cultural anthropology: sub-discipline of anthropology that focuses on the behaviors and beliefs of contemporary living cultures

cultural constructions: cognitive structures people create in order to perceive and classify aspects of the natural and social world around them

cultural relativism: idea that one should not judge the behavior or beliefs of another culture using the standards from their own culture

cultural resource management (CRM): field of applied anthropology that applies method and theory from archaeology to manage, protect, and preserve cultural resources

culture: learned and shared knowledge and behaviors of a human group

culture shock: a feeling of disorientation and anxiety that manifests itself in physical symptoms resulting from being placed in an unfamiliar culture

culture-history: theoretical approach in archaeology that emphasizes defining historical societies into distinct ethnic and cultural groupings according to their material culture

cytol: gel-like fluid that surrounds organelles within a cell

cytosine: nitrogen base that pairs with guanine in DNA and RNA molecules

cytoskeleton: network of long fibers that make up the cell’s structural framework

datum point: fixed spot at a known elevation above sea level to which all points at an archaeological site are related

demography: statistical study of the size, structure, and distribution of populations, and spatial or temporal changes in response to birth, migration, aging, and death

deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA): double-stranded molecule that provides the genetic code for an organism

descent with modification: fundamental concept proposed by Darwin where traits are passed from parent to offspring

descriptive linguistics: analyzing and describing how language is actually used (or how it was used in the past) by a group of people in a speech community.

development: progressive acquisition of various physiological abilities

development anthropology: field of applied anthropology that uses method and theory from cultural anthropology to help developing nations

diaphysis: the shaft of a long bone

diffusion: theory of culture change among culture-historians where new ideas moved across the landscape through social and economic ties from one culture to another

dihybrid: a hybrid that is heterozygous for alleles of two different genes

diploid cell: cell with a full set of paired chromosomes

discontinuous variation: variation seen among individuals when each individual shows one of two (or a very few) easily distinguishable traits

diurnal: primarily active during the daytime

divergent evolution: occurs when two separate species evolve differently from a common ancestor

domestication: genetic alteration of plants and animals by human selection

dominant: allele of a gene expressed in a heterozygous pair

dynasty: line of hereditary rulers

early archaic Homo sapiens : early humans that originated in Africa and lived from about 500,000 to 200,000 years ago in Africa, Asia and Europe; likely ancestors of Neandertals and anatomically modern H. sapiens

ecofacts: ecologically-related objects that humans may not have modified directly, but they once used or influenced

Edge Hypothesis: population pressure hypothesis that argues growing populations were forced into marginal areas with environmental stress, which forced people to intensify production and led to domestication

Egyptology: archaeological study that focuses on civilization and cultures of ancient Egyptian

Electronic Distance Measuring (EDM): electronic transit theodolite integrated with electronic distance measurement to measure both vertical and horizontal angles and the slope distance from the instrument to a particular point, and an on-board computer to collect data and perform triangulation calculations

embryonic development: period of human development from implantation of a zygote until about 8 weeks from the time of conception

endoplasmic reticulum: interconnected network organelle that collectively modifies proteins and synthesizes lipids

environmental archaeology: archaeological study of the relationship between past peoples and their natural environment including their management of resources and response to natural disasters

epigenetics: study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself

epigrapher: specialist in the study of epigraphy

epigraphy: study and interpretation of ancient inscriptions

epiphysis: end of a long bone initially separate from the diaphysis

ethnoarchaeology: research that combines cultural anthropology and archaeology to study contemporary people in an effort to document how people make, use, and dispose of the objects they use today

ethnocentrism: idea that the values and ideas of our own culture are “superior” or “natural” in comparison to those of other cultures

ethnographic research: qualitative scientific study where researchers observe and/or interact with participants in their environment to learn about customs, habits and mutual cultural differences

ethnography: published product of ethnographic research usually in book-length form

eukaryotes: single-celled or multi-cellular organisms that contain membrane-bound organelles, including a nucleus

evolution: process of change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations

evolutionary biology: study of the evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth, starting from a single common ancestor

evolutionary fitness: how well a species is able to reproduce in its environment

excavation: systematically uncovering, documenting, and collecting evidence of cultural behavior at a site

experimental archaeology: reconstructing techniques and processes used in the past to create artifacts, art, and architecture that we see in the archaeological record

fact: thing proved to be true through experiments and observation

faunal analyst: specialist in the analysis and interpretation of animal bones and shell

feature: collections of material culture and remains of human behavior that only make sense in association with another assemblage and cannot be moved

field study: method of primate scientific study in natural environments and habitats, focusing on group interactions and individual behavior

flake: thin fragments of stone removed from a core

flotation: archaeological technique that uses water to catch smaller pieces of cultural material in soil that may not be distinguishable in the excavation unit

foramen magnum: large opening at the base of the skull for passage of the spinal cord

forensic anthropology: field of applied anthropology that uses method and theory from biological anthropology to assist law enforcement officials with crimes that involve human remains

founder effect: sharp reduction in a population’s gene pool because a small part of a population is cut off from the larger population

frostbite: injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues

functional adaptations: any adaptation during an individual’s lifetime that helps that organism survive

Ga: geological time notation for billions of years ago

gametes: sex cells specifically involved in reproduction

gene: specific area of DNA on a chromosome that influences particular traits

gene flow: exchange of genes between interbreeding populations

gene pool: sum of all the alleles in a population

gene therapy: experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease

genetic diagnosis: process of testing for suspected genetic defects before administering medical treatment

genetic drift: random differences in the frequency of an allele within a small or isolated population due to chance events

genetic map: illustration that lists genes and their location on a chromosome

genetic marker: a gene or gene sequence on a chromosome that shows genetic linkage with a trait of interest

genome: a cell’s complete complement of DNA

genotype: set of alleles that determine which characteristics an individual will express

Geographical Information System (GIS ): computer-based tool that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information, usually in a map

geologic time scale: system of chronological dating that relates geological strata to time; used to describe the timing and relationships of events that have occurred during Earth’s history

geology: study of the structures of the Earth on and beneath its surface, and the processes that have shaped those structures

Global Positioning System (GPS): small portable mapping computers that are linked to satellites that can tell you where you are on a landscape

Golgi body: organelle that packages lipids and proteins processed by endoplasmic reticulum for distribution

gorillas: two extant species of great apes that inhabit the forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa

gracile australopithecines: species of the Australopithecus genus characterized by a lighter build in their skull and teeth

growth: process of increasing in physical size

growth spurt: rapid increase in an individual’s height and weight resulting from the release of hormones

guanine: nitrogen base that pairs with cytosine in DNA and RNA molecules

haab: 365 day solar calendar of the Maya

haploid cell: cell with a set of unpaired chromosomes

Haplorhines: primate taxonomic suborder that includes tarsiers, monkey, apes and humans

Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium: principle stating that if there are no evolutionary mechanisms acting on the population and affecting allele frequencies, those frequencies in the population will remain constant in the same proportions from one generation to the next

heat exhaustion: condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of the body overheating

heat stroke: severe heat illness that results in a body temperature greater than 104.0 °F/40.0 °C

hemoglobin: protein responsible for transporting oxygen and supplying red blood cells their color

heterozygous: having two different alleles in a gene pair

high-altitude adaptation: physiological and genetic adaptations that increase the ability to survive at extremely high altitudes

historic archaeology: study of the material remains of past cultures that left behind documental and oral histories with a specific emphasis on the emergence, transformation, and nature of the modern world

historical linguistics: study of the history and development of languages

historical particularism: idea that each culture has its own unique historical development and must be understood based on its own specific cultural and environmental context, especially its historical process

Holocene: current geological epoch that began approximately 11,700 years before present

homeostasis: maintaining a relatively stable equilibrium in physiological processes

Hominids: primate taxonomic family that includes orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and humans”

Hominin: taxonomic classification used when referring to all members of the human clade after the split from the Pan genus

Homo: genus that includes modern humans and their extinct human-like ancestors

Homo antecessor: early genus Homo species split of European H. erectus dating to 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago

Homo erectus: early genus Homo species that was the first to move out of Africa into Asia and Europe; likely descendent of H. habilis

Homo ergaster: early genus Homo species split of African H. erectus from Eurasian H. erectus

Homo habilis: earliest known genus Homo species displaying a substantial increase in brain size and definitive tool use; possible descendent of Au. garhi and ancestor to H. erectus

Homo heidelbergensis: early genus Homo species split of European H. erectus dating to 700,000 to 300,000 years ago

Homo rudolfensis: early genus Homo species split from H. habilis based on the shape and size of the cranium and molar teeth

homologous: matched pairs of chromosomes in a diploid cell

homologous structures: similarities between organisms that share a common ancestor

homozygous: having the same alleles in a gene pair

human variability: the range and frequency of possible genetic, physical and mental characteristics in humans

Hunahpu and Xbalanque: first set of twins in the Popol Vuh creation story – Hunahpu becomes the Maize God upon his resurrection

husbandry: similar to cultivation in plants, but involving animals including capturing, herding, taming, and tending to wild animals without crossbreeding animals and promoting genetic change

hybridization: process of reproducing offspring by combining the qualities of two organisms of different varieties or species

Hydraulic Hypothesis: hypothesis about the development of complexity proposed by Karl Wittfogel who argued complex societies arose in arid areas (such as China, Egypt, and Mesopotamia) as a mechanism to control large-scale hydraulic networks

Hylobatids: primate taxonomic family that includes gibbons and siamangs

hyperthermia: occurs when an individual’s body temperature is elevated beyond normal due to failed thermoregulation

hypothermia: occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature

hypothesis: proposed explanation for a phenomenon to be supported or disproved

hypoxia: deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues

ideology: set of beliefs that justifies the behaviors of a certain group of people

immutable: static over time or unable to be changed

in situ: Latin phrase for “original position”

independent assortment: Mendel’s principle stating genes are inherited independently of each other

inequality: unequal distribution of material and social resources

inheritance of acquired characteristics: Lamarck’s proposed mechanism of evolutionary change suggesting that modifications in an individual caused by its environment, or the use or disuse of a structure during its lifetime, could be inherited by its offspring and, therefore, bring about change in a species

inorganic: something that was never alive

intelligence: ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills

intelligence quotient (lQ): number representing a person’s reasoning ability as compared to the statistical norm or average for their age

intelligent design: pseudoscientific argument for the existence of a supernatural designer rather than

irreducible complexity: pseudoscientific idea that certain biological systems cannot evolve by successive small modifications to pre-existing functional systems through natural selection

ischial callosities: hardened skin pads located on the buttocks of some primates

Ka: geological time notation for thousands of years ago

katun: 20 years in the Maya Long Count calendar

knuckle walking: arms and knuckles of the hands support the weight of the torso during movement

K’uhul Ajaw: Maya “Holy Lord” or King

laboratory study: method of primate scientific study in a controlled lab setting, focusing on learning capabilities and behavioral patterns

lactase: digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose

lactase deficiency: lack of the enzyme lactase in the small intestine

lactase persistence: continued activity of the digestive enzyme lactase in adulthood

lactose: sugar found in milk

language: a system of speech sounds that are represented by visual symbols

Law of Superposition: general archaeological and geological principle that older remains are found on the bottom of stratigraphic columns while newer or more recent remains appear at the top

linguistics: sub-discipline of anthropology that focuses on the study of all aspects of human language

Linnaen taxonomy: system of categorizing organisms developed by Carl von Linné (Latinized: Carolus Linnaeus)

lithicist: specialist in the analysis and interpretation of stone artifacts

Long Count: Classic Maya calendar that counts forward and back from the fixed day of Maya creation, August 13, 3114 BC

lysosome: organelle that functions as the cell’s digestive component

Ma: geological time notation for millions of years ago

macroevolution: evolutionary changes above the species level

maladaptation: adjustment in an organism that undermines the ability to cope with environmental challenges

mapper: specialist in creation and interpretation of maps

mapping: cartographic localization of archaeological features on a landscape

material culture: physical manifestations of cultural behaviors and knowledge

material culture studies: interdisciplinary field that uses method and theory from multiple fields to study contemporary material culture

medical anthropology: field of applied anthropology that studies cultural perceptions of disease and nutrition, as well cultural practices related to health, and addresses issues related to health and wellness in both industrial and non-industrial countries

meiosis: process of two successive cell divisions that result in four new haploid cells (gametes)

melanin: dark brown to black pigment found in skin, hair and eyes

Mesoamerica: area in Central American including southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize,
El Salvador, and parts of Honduras where Pre-Columbian complex societies shared common cultural traits

Mesoamerican archaeology: archaeological study that focuses on cultures in modern day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador

Mesozoic Era: geologic era of Earth’s history, occurring 252 million to 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs appeared and went extinct, and mammals, birds, and flowering plants first appeared

metaphysis: portion of a long bone that contains a growth plate; located between an epiphysis and diaphysis

microevolution: evolutionary changes in allele frequencies over time in a population

midline keel: a small central ridge along the top of the skull of Asian H. erectus

mitochondria: complex organelles that convert energy from food into a form that the cell can use

mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA): DNA located in the mitochondria of a cell; inherited almost exclusively from mother

mitosis: process of cell division that results in two new diploid (somatic) cells

modern human variation: study of contemporary biological variation among humans and how the human body has adapted to different climates environments and conditions over time

Modern Synthesis: overarching evolutionary paradigm that took shape by the 1940s and is generally accepted today; combines concepts of natural selection, Mendelian inheritance and population genetics

multivariate analysis: analysis of a number of variables to better understand the interrelationships that exist among them

mutation: a change in the DNA sequence of a gene

myth: story about culture-heroes, real or imagined

Myth of Leisure Time: fallacious idea that an agricultural mode of production gives modern populations more leisure time than hunter-gatherers

natural selection: process that produces adaptations and exerts pressures that favor some individual over others to survive and reproduce in a given environment

neoevolutionism: theoretical approach in archaeology concerned with long-term, directional, evolutionary social change and with regular patterns of development that may be seen in unrelated, widely-separated cultures

niche construction: process by which humans use cultural knowledge to modify their environments

nocturnal: primarily active during the nighttime

nondisjunction event: random failure of the sex chromosomes to separate normally during meiosis

normative model of culture: principle that each culture has a set of norms governing human behavior

norms: shared ideas or expectations about how people should act in certain situations

nuclear DNA (nDNA): DNA located in the cell nucleus

Nuclear Zone Theory: hypothesis about adoption of agriculture proposed by Robert Braidwood whereby domestication was believed to take place in areas naturally rich in wild resources

nucleotides: base, sugar and phosphate structures that form DNA and RNA molecules

nucleus: organelle that houses the cell’s DNA and directs the synthesis of ribosomes and proteins

Oasis Hypothesis: hypothesis about adoption of agriculture proposed by V. Gordon Childe that involved the aggregation of plants, animals, and humans at desert oases

occipital bun: bulge of bone at the back of the skull of European H. erectus and Neandertals

omnivore: animal that feeds on plant and animal resources

opposable: capable of moving the thumb (or first toe) toward and touching the other digits on the same hand (or foot)

orangutans: three extant species of great apes native to Indonesia and Malaysia

organelles: specialized structures that perform certain tasks within the cell

organic: things that used to be alive or are constructed from previously living things

Orrorin tugenensis: early fossil hominin species found in East Africa that displays the earliest evidence of bipedalism

osteologist: specialist in the analysis and interpretation of human bones

ova: female sex cell

paleoanthropology: study of the origins and development of early humans and their ancestors

paleontology: study of ancient plant and animal life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms’ evolution and interactions with each other and their environments

Paleozoic Era: geologic era of Earth’s history, occurring 541 million to 252 million years ago, which was a time of dramatic geological, climatic, and evolutionary change and rapid, widespread diversification of life

Paranthropus: fossil hominin genus of at least three species found in East and South Africa from 2.7 to 1.1 million years ago

Paranthropus aethiopicus: earliest known Paranthropus species from East Africa; contemporaneous with Au. garhi and likely ancestor to P. boisei

Paranthropus boisei: Paranthropus species from East Africa; contemporaneous with
Au. africanus

Paranthropus robustus: earliest known Paranthropus species from South Africa; contemporaneous with Au. sediba and likely descended from Au. afarensis

participant observation: living among a group of people and participating in their daily activities

patrilineal: unilineal system of descent where kinship is recognized through the male line

Permian-Triassic extinction: event at the end of the Paleozoic Era, approximately 252 million years ago, when 83% of all life became extinct

phenotype: an individual’s observable features that result from their genotype

phylogeny: evolutionary relationship among species

Platyrrhines: primate taxonomic infraorder that includes New World monkeys

polygamy: when a marriage consists of multiple spouses

polygenic: phenotypic expression of a trait influenced by alleles of multiple genes

polygyny: type of marriage where one male spouse has multiple female wives

polymorphic: a single gene with two or more alleles, in which the least common allele has a frequency of about 1% or greater

polytypic: very specific populations found in distinct habitats that can be distinguished regionally on the basis of discrete phenotypes

Popol Vuh: Maya “Book of Counsel” containing myths about the creation of the world and origins of K’iche Maya

population bottleneck: large decline in a population’s gene pool because of an environmental, or human-caused, change

population genetics: study of genetic variation within a population

Population Pressure Hypothesis: series of hypotheses about the adoption of agriculture that argue population pressure led to domestication

post-orbital constriction: narrowing of the cranium just behind the eye orbits

post-processual archaeology: theoretical approach in archaeology that emphasizes the subjectivity of archaeological interpretations and attempts to bridge the tension between social structure and the agency of individuals

postnatal development: period of human development from birth through adolescence

power grip: grip where the thumb and fingers wrap around an object in a fist to transmit force

precision grip: grip where the tips of the fingers and thumb come together for fine manipulation of objects

prehensile capability: primate ability to grasp with their hands and sometimes the feet and tail

prehistoric archaeology: archaeology of cultures living in time periods before the presence of writing

prenatal development: period of human development from about the 10th week of pregnancy through to birth

primary states: first socially stratified and bureaucratically governed societies with at least four levels of settlement hierarchy

Primates: taxonomic order that includes lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys and apes, including humans

primatology: scientific study of behavior, biology, evolution, and taxonomy of primates

primogeniture: system if inheritance where the first-born son of a king inherits the throne

processual archaeology: theoretical approach in archaeology that sees archaeolgical investigation as a scientific pursuit whose goal is to investigate and explain human behavior in the past

prognathism: protrusion of the upper and lower jaws

prokaryotes: single-celled organisms that do not have a nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelle inside them

Proterozoic Eon: geologic eon of Earth’s history, occurring 2.5 billion to 541 million years ago, when the dominant life forms were algae, fungi and marine protozoans

pseudoscience: collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method

puberty: process of physical changes resulting in the body being capable of sexual reproduction

quadrupedal: using all four feet for walking and running

Quaternary: current geologic period that began approximately 2.5 million years ago

race: socially constructed grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society

racial essentialism: belief that all members of each race possess physical and mental characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races

racism: any prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior

radiocarbon (carbon-14) date: age or date of organic matter from the relative proportion of stable carbon-12 and decaying carbon-14 isotopes that it contains

recessive: allele of a gene not expressed in a heterozygous pair

relative date: time of an event with reference to another event that is not worldwide in scale

religion: belief system focused around the worship of supernatural forces that involves the telling of myths and performance of rituals

remote sensing: techniques that archaeologists can use to find archaeological features without penetrating the ground

replication: process of nuclear DNA making a copy of itself prior to cell division

reverse genetics: method used to help understand the function of a gene by analyzing the phenotypic effects of specific engineered gene sequences

rhinarium: moist, fleshy pad at the end of the nose surrounding the nostrils

ribonucleic acid (RNA): single-stranded molecule that plays a key role in transporting amino acids during protein synthesis

ribosomes: organelles that process the cell’s genetic instructions to create proteins

ring species: when adjacent populations of the same species are able to reproduce around a barrier, but gradual changes in intermediate populations result in two different species no longer able to successfully interbreed

robust australopithecines: species of the Paranthropus genus characterized by a heavier and larger build in their skull and teeth

sagittal crest: ridge of bone running lengthwise along the midline of the top of the skull, indicating the presence of exceptionally strong jaw muscles

Sahelanthropus tchadensis: earliest known fossil hominin species found in Central Africa with possible evidence of bipedalism

sampling strategy: systematic decision of where and why sampling and excavation of a site should occur

science: the study of the natural world based on facts

scientific method: systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses

scientific racism: misuse of science to justify the claim that some groups are racially superior to others

Scopes Trial: 1925 legal case State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes that tested the lawfulness of teaching human evolution in a state-funded public school

sedentary: staying in the same place

segregation: Mendel’s principle stating that a gene can have different alleles, but each gamete only gets one allele of each gene

selective pressure: any external force that cause differences in the fitness of individuals having particular alleles

semi-free range study: method of primate scientific study in a captive setting, focusing on group behaviors that might occur in the wild

senescence: gradual deterioration of physiological function with age

settlement hierarchy: way of arranging settlements into a hierarchy based upon their population or some other criteria

sex chromosomes: chromosome pair that determines a person’s biological sex

sexual dimorphism: distinct difference in size or appearance between the sexes

sherds: broken pieces of ceramic vessels

sickle-cell anemia: inherited condition in which red blood cells become rigid, sticky and shaped like sickles and are unable to carry adequate oxygen throughout your body

Social Hypothesis: hypothesis about adoption of agriculture proposed by Barbara Bender and Brain Hayden that argues the transition to farming and food storage and surplus could not be understood simply in terms of environment and population, but it was more related to the ability of certain individuals to accumulate a surplus of food and to transform that surplus into more valued item

social sciences: category of scientific disciplines that use theory and method to generate qualitative and quantitative data to test hypotheses concerning human behavior, society and the relationships among individuals within a society

socialization (enculturation): acquisition of characteristics and norms of a culture or group that direct how to behave in a way that is acceptable to society

sociolinguistics: study of what we think about language and how we use language in relation to social factors, such as regionalism, class, occupation, gender, and bilingualism

soil scientist: specialist in the analysis and interpretation of soil geo-chemistry

somatic cells: cells that make up the basic structural components of the body

spatial context: relationship between the artifact and any other artifacts like it at the site or region where the artifact was found

specialization: when people start making more than they need of a certain type of product, which they can trade or sell for other good

speciation: event where one ancestral species diverges into multiple descendant species

species: largest taxonomic group of organisms where any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring, typically by sexual reproduction

sperm: male sex cell

strata: successive layers of rock or debris above and around artifacts and features

stratigraphy: analysis of the order and position of layers of geological or archaeological remains

Strepsirrhines: primate taxonomic suborder that includes lemurs, pottos, galagos and lorises

stressor: potentially harmful agents or disruptions that affect organisms

surplus: excess of production or supply over demand

survey: walking exploration of an archaeological site or area under study

sweat: fluid containing mostly water with some dissolved minerals excreted through pores onto the skin’s surface

symbol: something that stands for something else; primary means through which we learn and share our culture

sympatric speciation: isolation and evolution of a new species from a surviving ancestral species while both continue to inhabit the same geographic region

systematics: study of the diversification of living forms, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time

Systems Theory: idea that societies change and adapt very much like living organisms, and states are essentially highly complex “living systems” that have evolved over time

tanning response: ultraviolet radiation stimulates melanin production in human skin

tarsiers (tarsiiformes): primate taxonomic infraorder found only on various islands of Southeast Asia

taxonomy: science of defining and naming groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics

terminus post quem: Latin for the “limit after which” a context can be dated at an archaeological site

terrestrial: living on the ground surface

theodolite: surveying instrument with a rotating telescope for measuring horizontal and vertical angles

theory: scientific principle that has been extensively tested and supported over time

thermoregulation: process that allows your body to maintain its core internal temperature

thymine: nitrogen base that pairs with adenine in DNA molecules

tooth comb: specialized group of teeth at the front of the lower jaw that angle forward

Trade Hypothesis: series of hypotheses about that argue the control of trade between areas with different resources led to the development of complexity

tun: 1 year or 365 days in the Maya Long Count calendar

tzolkin: 260 day ritual calendar of the Maya

uinal: one “month” of 20 days in the Maya Long Count

underwater archaeology: archaeological study of material culture that is now underwater, such as shipwrecks and submerged sites

uniformitarianism: concept that changes in the earth’s crust over deep geological history have resulted from the action of continuous and uniform processes, such as erosion, volcanic eruptions and plate tectonics

unilineal evolution: late 19th -century evolutionary theory that envisaged all human societies as evolving along a common track from simple hunting and gathering communities to literate civilizations

univariate analysis: analysis of a single variable for the purpose of description

uracil: nitrogen base in RNA molecules that pairs with adenine during protein synthesis

Urban Revolution: concept proposed by V. Gordon Childe, the process by which small, kin-based, nonliterate agricultural villages were transformed into large, socially complex, urban societies through craft specialization and surplus

use context: context in which an artifact was used

values: shared ideas about the most desirable way to act and live in a culture; the ultimate or ideal standard against which all members of a culture should be judged

variation: differences among individuals in a population

vasoconstriction: rerouting blood away from the skin and towards the warmer core of the body to prevent heat loss

vasodilation: increased blood flow and redirecting of blood into the superficial capillaries in the skin

vesicles: organelles used by the cell for organizing and transporting cellular substances such as food, wastes and enzymes within the cell

whole genome sequencing: process that determines the DNA sequence of an entire genome of an organism

worldviews: particular philosophy of life or conception of the world that reflects the norms, values, cultural constructions and symbols of a culture

Xibalba: Maya underworld

zygote: single cell that results from the union of a sperm and ovum


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