Saturday, October 12, 2019
Biological Differences that Exist Between Individuals in a Population E
Biological Differences that Exist Between Individuals in a Population Physical anthropologists view humans as biological organisms. Coupled with genetics and biochemistry, scientists can form a more complete picture of human anatomy, both past and present. Physical anthropology looks at human variation and evolution. Variation looks at the biological differences that exist between individuals within a population and at individuals between populations (e.g., body shape, size, and physiological responses). These differences in human biology are measured using a technique called anthropometry 1. In order to explain this diversity, physical anthropologists look to environmental conditions (including culture) and genetics. Taking these factors into account, the anthropologist attempts to formulate an evolutionary explanation for the differences. Human evolution looks at the bodily changes that have occurred over the years leading up to modern day Homo sapiens. In order to determine the changes that have taken place in human anatomy we rely on paleoanthropology, the study of human fossil remains, and primatology, and the study of other primates 1. Paleoanthropology helps us determine who our ancestors were, and when, how and why they evolved. Primatology allows us to see the similarities and differences between other primates and ourselves and allows us to trace these evolutionary relationships. For example, such a study has determined that humans share approximately 98.6% of their DNA (their genetic code) with gorillas, 98.8% with chimpanzees and 97.6% with orangutans 2. Approaching human variation from the perspective of the anthropologist leaves a vast field of study before the world of medicine. One of the most fascinating examples of human variation is the found in albinism. The word "albinism" refers to a group of genetically inherited conditions. People with albinism have little or no pigment in the eyes, skin, and hair (or in some cases in the eyes alone). They have inherited from their parents an altered copy of genes that does not work correctly. The altered gene does not allow the body to make the usual amounts of a pigment called melanin. Approximately one in 17,000 people have one of the types of albinism. About 18,000 people in the United States are affected 3. Albinism affects people from all races. The parents of most children wit... ...ion, Scriver CR, Beaudet AL, Sly WS, Valle D (eds), McGraw-Hill, New York, pp. 4353-4392 4. Haefemeyer, JW and Knuth JL. Albinism. Journal of Opthalmic Nursing and Technology. 10:55-62. 5. Witkop, CJ Jr, Quevedo WC Jr, Fitzpatrick TB, and King RA: Albinism, in Scriver CR, Begudet AL, Sly WS and Valla D: The Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disease, ed 6. New York, McGraw Hill, 1989, p 2905-2947. 6. Lewis, Ricki (1994) Human Genetics Concepts and Applications. Wm. C. Brown Publishers. 7. O'Donnell, F.E., Green, W.R., McKusick, V.A., Forsius, H. and Eriksson, A.W.: Forsius-Eriksson syndrome: its relation to the Nettleship-Falls X-linked ocular albinism. Clin. Genet. l7: 403-408, l980. 8. Renee Skelton. Charles Darwin : Evolution by Natural Selection. New York: Barrons, 1987. 9. Angela, Piero and Alberto Angela. (1989) The Extraordinary Story of Human Origins. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. 10. Leakey, L.S.B. and Vanne Morris Goodall. (1969) Unveiling Man's Origins: Ten Decades of Thought about Human Evolution. Cambridge: Schenkman Publishing. 11. Relethford, John. (1990) The Human Species - An Introduction to Biological Anthropology. California: Mayfield Publishing.