According to Britannica.com” Physical anthropology is concerned with the origin, evolution, and diversity of people. Physical anthropologists work broadly on three major sets of problems: human and nonhuman primate evolution, human variation and its significance, and the biological bases of human behavior.”
Physical Anthropologists collect data related to the genetic and anthropometric features of not only a group who inhabits a region but also of their ancestors. They do it with the help of questionnaires, survey schedules, visual aids and various other implements. When physical anthropologists visit a particular field they have to come across various questions –
- “Why are you collecting our blood samples?”
- ” Why measure our height, weight and other body parts?”
- “Why do you want to know about our predecessors and the food we eat?”
- “How will it benefit us?”
Well these are some of the common queries that I had to answer during my field work. The answer to all these questions is – the data collected by us will help in understanding the physical and morphological features of the particular group of people . To answer the last question , we would love to help them in every way we can, because we can empathize with the people, only if we can find a way to send the information to the Government or Government related database system (only if the Indian Govt. has one).
Physical Anthropologists also study the primates because by studying the environment of these animals we are able to relate our thoughts to that of our ancestors ecology.
They also deal with finger and palm print of different individuals , called “dermatoglyphics” in a sub branch called “Forensic Anthropology”. Hence Physical anthropology is branch of anthropology which deals with the origin, variation and evolution of human beings.