What is it? Edit
The Evolutionary Anthropology Society (EAS) is a unique branch of anthropology that focuses of the evolution of people from around the world. What makes this society so unique, is how it brings all those interested in applying modern evolutionary theory to the analysis of human biology, behavior, and culture. All three of these aspects together have drawn fellow anthropologists from all sorts of areas of study, and they in turn have applied their knowledge to evolutionary anthropology.
The Development of the EAS Edit
It was during the 1980's-1990's that a number of anthropologists began to apply ideas from behavioral ecology, such as foraging theories, kin selection, sexual selection, and mating strategies, and publish them in articles entitled Evolution and Human Behavior and Human Nature (2007). These publications would eventually be published in larger more well known magazines such as American Anthropologist. It was around 2002 that anthropologists who have presented papers in behavior ecology and evolution, felt they needed to address and pubilicize their papers to the American Anthropological Association (AAA). These anthropologists felt presenting their papers to the AAA would be beneficial and influential within a larger organziation (2007). The Evolutionary Anthropology Society (EAS) began discussions at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society in 2002. These researchers started holding their own meetings in 2003,and within that same year anthropologists who attended these meetings and had publications that were presented began a society for evolutionary anthropology. It was in the that same year a mission statement for the society and presented it before a committee for the American Anthropological Society (2007). It was spring of 2004 that a formal letter was presented to the president and board members of the AAA, and this was when the Evolutionary Anthropology Society became a reality.
Evolution and Creationism: American Anthropological Association
It was in the year 2000 that the American Anthropological Association confirmed that evolution is a basic, founding, and understandable concept in the field of anthropology. With evolution being a debated topic amongst creationists and evolutionists, the AAA affirmed that evolution can be taught in pre-college curriculum, as they have said it is the best scientific approach to the study of human biology and behavior (2000: AAA). What is interesting, is the AAA acknowledges that evolution is a curriculum that can be taught, not to indoctrinate. Overall, the AAA states that the study and teaching of evolution is to provide reasoning and research for those who acknowledge the topic.
For more information on this statement, visit www.aaanet.org/stmts/evolution.htm* This link has a lot more information in regards to a protection of the study of evolution as well as other anthropological related topics!
What is Their Mission? Edit
The mission of the Evolutionary Anthropology Society is to take into account Darwin's theory of evolution, and combine years of evolutionary analysis with the other subfields of anthropology to further the study of evolution. It is the subfields of archaeological, biological, and other anthropological sciences that contributed greatly to the study of evolution, and as a group have a set of concepts that make up their mission statement:
1.) Promote modern evolutionary theory to the analysis of human behavior and culture
2.) Foster scholarly exchange between evolutionists and to all subjects of anthropology
3.) Support the dissemation of evolutionary anthropology in teaching and research
4.) Provide a forum for those who are concerned with the communication of evolution in anthropological research
5.) Provide an opportunity for evolutionary oriented students and graduates to present their papers to the American Anthropological Association
(mission statement provided by: evanthsoc.org/Site/Mission_Statement.html)
With these five concepts in mind, the Evolutionary Anthropology Society has justification for their scholarly publications. First, these statements provided are open to any individual within the study of anthropology. One must take into account Darwinian Theory , for as mentioned before, is growing with more knowledge brought forth by the subdisciplines of anthropology. Overall, their mission is get other people in other areas of study to acknowledge evolution, and try to get others who have attacked evolutionary anthropology, to see how as a society have critiqued and provided long term evidence and data for the benefit of the people. **see discussion page***
Darwin's theory of evolution is a major contributor to the Evolutionary Anthropology Society, and of course understanding Darwinian Theory is being part of this society within the American Anthropological Society.
Charles Darwin and Evolutionary Theory EditCharles Darwin was one of the most influential in the study of evolution. Darwin had a major impact on the study of mankind and natural selection. It was in 1859 that Darwin's book entitled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was put into publication, and it promoted attention from people from around the world. It was Darwin's book that sought to explain the "mysteries of mysteries", or the diversity of life upon the planet (1952: 15).Part of the mysteries on the diversity of life, is how Darwin explains how only the fittest of those people will be the most successful at reproduction and survival.What is Darwin's Theory of Evolution? Basically Darwin's theory can be summarized in five different categories:
1.) Variation- there is variation within population
2.) Competition- species will compete for resources that are limited
3.) Reproduction- the more offspring a species has, the more successful it will be
4.) Genetics- Species will pass on their genetic material to their offspring
5.) Natural Selection- Those who inhibit the most benefical traits, will be most successful in reproduction
(Listed information provided by: spaceandmotion.com/Charles-Darwin-Theory-Evolution.htm)
Darwin's Five Theories of evolution have been debated as well as criticized by other evolutionists and scientist during Darwin's time. Right after the publication of the Origen of Species, a british anatomist and palentologist by the name of Richard Owen claimed that the Gorilla's brain is much different from that of the human brain (2001: 47). Owen's statement's against Darwin overall stated that humans were seperate in their own evolution from any other species, that overall man is not related to ape. Of course the biological aspect of evolution has revolutionized greatly in the modern day.
What makes Darwin's Theory on evolution a large part of the Evolutionary Anthropology Society, is how after his publication of the Origin of Species in 1859, fellow evolutionists constructed arguments to exclude human beings from their system and to make a devine exception for this one particular primate (1982: 8). But, Charles Darwin stood by his beliefs and said that his theory of evolution stands by ALL species, and does not exclude human beings. Early evolutionists avoided the conflictions of evolution vs. creationism, but the Evolutionary Anthropology Society focuses on the science and research behind evolution, just like Charles Darwin did for the sake of his study.
The Legacy of Charles Darwin Edit
The legacy of Charles Darwin's work has touched other fellow evolutionists as well as other anthropologists in other subfields. Researchers that have followed in Darwin's footsteps such as Richard Leakey who acknowledges Darwin and his contribution to the field of anthropology. Richard Leakey's study of African origins takes into account one of the key subfields of anthropology that the Evolutionary Anthropology Society considers part of the study of evolution, and that is archaeology combined with biology, and looking at the fossil record. With Leakey's study of the fossil record of primates in Africa, he has ultimately related back to Darwin and his theory on evolution. For example, Leakey claimed within his review entitled African Origins: A Review of the Record, that Darwin explicitly applied his evolutionary theory to that of humans as well, and not only other species on the planet (1982: 27). Within Leakey's study of African Origins, he takes close interest and concern with the aspects of Darwin's theory of evolution.
Darwin's legacy has lived on throughout the years, and other individuals also contributed to the evolution of man and apes in general. During Darwin's time, many scientists in the realm of evolution looked at humans and apes in two totally different ways, but according to one of the modern evolutionists by the name of George Gaylord Simpson, he looks at humans as being similar to apes (1968: 2-16). Even though Simpson's research was during the 1960's, it is still modern in the sense that he takes a modern perspective on ALL humans having the same biological makeup. What Simpson has contributed to the study of evolutionary anthropology, is how during his study in the 1960's said that all humans from all nationalities had all the same features biologically and psychologically, that "man" overall has the same primitive traits with one another. Of course during this time, it was a controvesy between African Americans and the Caucasian population. This concept is interesting, for in Darwin's time of studying evolution, scientists who criticized Darwin's work played close attention to keeping humans seperate from other species as evolving, but Simpson sees Darwin's point of view that ALL humans and primates have similarities with one another biologically.
Simpson's view on evolution is very similar to that of Darwin's, and taking a holistic view of evolution is what Darwin had done. This holistic view is what the Evolutionary Anthropology Society has taken on in their modern studies of evolution.
Current Topics of Interest in the EAS Edit
The Evolutionary Anthropology Society is an organization that takes concepts of Darwanian Theory and applies them to the future of evolution research. According to the Evolutionary Anthropology Society, modern evolutionary anthropology seeks to explain human behavioral diversity across time and space as adaptive solutions to current ecological and cultural conditions (session abstract: Nov 29, 07). What is interesting is how future events and activities of the society are based around the modernization of evolutionary anthropology. The newest written abstracts by active evolutionary anthropolgists reflect the modernization within the future study in evolutionary anthropology For example,a session reviewed by the society at the AAA meetings reflects how industrialization, stratification, and contraceptive technology. A couple papers focused on how globalization is effecting small scale societies, and this effect according to the one of the session's in the society, is changing fertility and mortality patterns (session abstract: Nov. 29, 07). So the members of the Evolutionary Anthropology Society along with other researchers, are studying a vast range of the human condition and collecting vital behavioral data for the benefit of the study.
Future of the EAS Edit
According the Evolutionary Anthropology Society's branch of the American Anthropological Association' webpage, there is a lot of changes within new topics and studies arising in evolutionary anthropology. Compared to the beginnings of the concept of evolution according to Charles Darwin, scientists and anthropologists now are expanding on evolution in ways that were never imaginable before. The Evolutionary Anthropology Society has a lot more time to develop and grow into a larger and more complex organization.
American Anthropological Association
2008 Evolutionary Anthropology Society. Electronic Document, accessed http://www.evanthsoc.org/Site/Welcome.html, accessed April10th-May 1st
American Anthropological Association
2000 Statement of Evolution and Creationism: American Anthropological Association. Electronic Document, http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/evolution.htm, accessed April 18th
Bleibtreu, Hermann K.
1970 Evolutonary Anthropology: A Reader in Human Biolog: Allyn & Bacon Inc.
Hamrum, Charles L.
1982 Darwin's Legacy. Harper & Row
1952 Darwin, Competition and Cooperation. Henry Schuman
2001 What Evolution Is. Basic Books
2001 The Evolutionists: The Struggle for Darwin's Soul. W.H. Freeman & Company
Peacock, James L.
1970 The Human Direction: An Evolutionary Approach to Social and Cultural Anthropology. New York
Washburn, Phyllis C. Jay
1968 Perspectives on Human Evolution. Holt, Rinehart and Winston