“Humans” @ Science News

13 Nov

What is anthropology?  The American Anthropological Association describes it as:

“…the study of humans, past and present. To understand the full sweep and complexity of cultures across all of human history, anthropology draws and builds upon knowledge from the social and biological sciences as well as the humanities and physical sciences. A central concern of anthropologists is the application of knowledge to the solution of human problems. Historically, anthropologists in the United States have been trained in one of four areas: sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics. Anthropologists often integrate the perspectives of several of these areas into their research, teaching, and professional lives.”

Like all definitions of anthropology, this one makes reference to humans – like most, it makes explicit reference to science.  Whenever I need a brief phrase to describe anthropology (e.g., to clarify that anthro isn’t about bugs or dinosaurs), I call it “the science of all aspects of humanity: biology, culture, language.”  That works, and it points to my broader interest in science as a whole (including bugs and dinosaurs!).

As an all-around science geek, I love to read widely about scientific research, often at the boundaries of anthropology – and beyond! (as Buzz Lightyear says).  Science News is a great magazine for people with broad scientific interests, a group that probably includes YOU, since you’re reading this.  It’s published by the nonprofit Society for Science & the Public, and recognizes that even smart, scientifically-literate people can’t be experts in everything.  They print brief articles on a wide array of topics geared toward interested non-specialists.  For example, I have no background in physics or chemistry, but can comprehend and enjoy Science News articles about these topics.  I highly recommend checking out their online articles, especially the “Humans” section, which includes anthropology, archaeology, behavior, and psychology subheadings.  Happy reading!

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