Thursday, May 10, 2012

Genetics and its Relevance to Physical Anthropology

Physical anthropology attempts to explain human evolution.Genetics provides a basis for investigating similarities and differences between parent and offspring generations.Evolution may be defined as the accumulation of genetic changes over generations.

Physical anthropology attempts to describe and explain man's biological variation.Genetics have made it possible to employ a distinctive set of traits,inherited ones in describing and analysing man's variation and these may be analysed in ways that other traits cannot.

In classifying man's variation  physical anthropology have relied heavily on racial classifications that basically are predarwinian or non evolutionary in outlook.Genetics in the development of its theory of population structure has laid the foundations for classifying human variation into categories with clearer evolutionary unity and thus with clearer biological meaning than traditional racial classification simply.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sanctions as defined by Anthropologists

In every society one finds institutions that encourage and emphasize conformity to social and customary norms or rules.These institutions are referred to as sanctions

According to Radcliffe Brown a sanction is a reaction on the part of a society or of a considerable number of its members to a mode of behaviour which is thereby approved or disapproved.

Sanctions may be of different kinds and types
Negative and Positive sanctions- By positive sanctions it is meant such incentives to conformity as awards,titles and recognition by others.However they seem to be usually of less significance than negative sanctions.The negative sanctions includes threats of imprisonment,corporal punishment or ostracism from the community for violation of social norms.

Formal and informal sanctions- sanctions may be formal or informal depending on whether or not a legal statute is involved.Informal sanctions may acquire the forms of surprised glances to murmurs of disapproval by others while formal sanctions involve being subject to litigation.

Organized and diffuse sanctions-Organized sanctions are those which reward or punish behaviour through precisely regulated social procedure.When these sanctions are imposed by an authorired political body they are referred to as legal sanctions.

Diffuse sanctions are those which are the expressions of approval or disapproval by members of the community.Often diffuse sanctions involve patterns of behaviour which are more or less institutionalized.These subject the offender to such inconveniences that the mockery of one's neighbors and the loss of honor all act as powerful inducements to proper behaviour.The sanction of ridicule is also called as satirical sanction.

Religious sanctions also serve to regulate behaviour and explain incomprehensible phenomena.Witchcraft,sorcery and other magical practices instil fear and thereby act as effective sanctions that lead to the conformity to proper behaviour.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Statistical Tests for study of Human Genetics

t-test for population mean
This is meant to see the significance of the difference between and assumed population mean and a sample mean.This is done with a population with an assumed mean and an unknown variance ,a random sample of size  n is taken and a  sample mean is circulated  and also the standard deviation using the formula.The t -test can also be performed with little modification for two population means wherein the variance are unknown but equal and also variance are unknown and unequal.

x2 test for population variance
This test is basically to see the difference between the sample variance S2 and assumed population variance.

x2 test for goodness of fit
This test is meant to see the significance of the differences between the observed data arranged in k classes and theoretically expected frequencies in the same.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tobacco Smoking is injurious to health

To many people tobacco smoking is a stimulant and a fashionable habit but scientific studies report that it has ill effects on the health of people.Tobacco contains the stimulant nicotine and if the nicotine in a single cigar is injected in a person it will prove fatal.

Nicotine when inhaled  stimulates the nerve passages relaxes the muscle and helps pumping of more adrenalin into the blood stream.The heart beat rate goes up and blood pressure increases impairing the functioning of the heart.

When a pregnant woman smokes  the foetus inside shows the stunted growth.Carbon monoxide  in the tobacco smoke combines with haemoglobin of the blood  and so intake of oxygen by haeomoglobin is reduced.Apart from causing cancer ,tobacco smoking can cause bronchitis,gastric and duodenal ulcers.

Tar,aldehydes,hydrogen cyanide and lead are toxic to health.People in the vicinity of smokers are passive smokers inhaling the smoke.

Bio ethics

Ethical issues in genetics need consideration in a society with traditional cultural and religious values.It is not ethical to check the sex of the child in the mother's womb if the parents desire to have a child of a particular sex male or female.If however it is dignosed by the physician that the mother's health would be affected if the pregnancy is continued there is justification to terminate the pregnancy through safe procedures.

On the other hand refusal of proven fetal therapy by a woman to save an unborn child is not morally correct.Counselling by the physician highlighting the benefit of therapy is important but the advice tendered should be based on sound diagnosis.In western countries  ethical issues  go beyond the immediate issue of prenatal diagnosis.There are well established screening procedure for detecting genetic disorders.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mendelian Principle's application to Human Population

Each character or trait of inheritance is determined by two factors.When the characters are inherited one factor may be obviously expressed while the other factor may be suppressed.The former is called dominant and the latter is called recessive.An individual carrying a dominant as well as recessive factor for any trait is called a hybrid and an individual possessing a pair of either dominant or recessive factors is known as pure with respect to that trait.

Law of segregation - The two factors of a character do not blend with each other but separate out during the formation of gemetes.

In every new generation there is a recombination of factors from the two parents and the new generation may show all conceivable combination of paternal and maternal characteristic traits.

Law of independent assortment- The factors controlling  the various characters are inherited ,independent of each other.This segregation and assortment of chromosomes  in sexual reproduction is one of the major causes of variation.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Eco System Concept

The holistic concept of ecosystem has gained wide acceptance as a key tool for the study of ecology.A a type of general system it is capable of including the activities of man within its purview.The ecosystem framework suggests a synthetic focus upon an organized unit in which transactions of production,distribution,consumption and material recycling are structured and function.Thus the ecosystem conceptually unites the biology,behavior,organization and functioning of man,other animals,plants and inorganic components within a single framework in which the interaction of the components may be studied.Utilization of the concept of ecosystem shifts emphasis from specific one to one relationships  to the nature and functioning of the holistic system.The structure and functional interrelations  of an ecosystem emerge from the study  of circular exchanges betwen living and non living components energy and information transactions.The study of ecosystems that include man seeks to understand the structure and functioning of this systematic whole composed of linked subsystems.

Human ecosystemic studies  thus are the meeting ground for all the disciplines concerned with man.Anthropology the coordinating science  should benefit greatly from the application of the ecosystem concept.With its aid the ambitious goal of anthropology may be more closely approached.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Joint Family Dispute in a Mysore Village- M N Srinivas

In an important papar: A joint family dispute in a Mysore village written in 1952 M.N Srinivas distinguishes the joint family from the brotherhood or lineage.He takes the joint family as a multifunctional group and defines its composition in general terms .It consists of the descendents in the male line of a common ancestor and their wives , sons ,married as well as unmarried  and unmarried daughters.

Srinivas has in view the joint family in which the male members are either father,two or more married sons ,one or more unmarried sons and unmarried grandsons or two or more married sons  and unmarried grandsons or two or more married brothers one or more unmarried brothers  and brother's unmarried sons.Some categories of relatives who do not fall within the scope of these joint families  or of the elementary family are classed along with the latter.He doesnot provide a stereotype description of interpersonal relations between father and son,between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law,between brothers and their wives  but a graphic description of the process of partition of a joint family household composed of a widow mother,her three married sons and their wives and children,one unmarried son and a deceased son's son.He shows what happens in a joint family when two or more married brothers live their widow mother after their father's death and when the brothers have the responsibililty of looking after an unmarried younger brother and a deceased brother's minor son.
" It is only where the joint family has vast lands or huge commercial interests or a great sense of family tradition or when it is spread over a wide area that it continues to remain joint even after the brothers have become heads of elementary families.Tension between brothers or cousins diminish considerably if they do not share the same house."

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