Choosing a right topic for your term paper in physical anthropology can be a tough task. Students need to understand the subject, break it down in to easy categories and find a potential niche to address. This involves the process of brainstorming for idea generation and the process of elimination for idea analysis. Remember that the topic of your paper must be unique and fresh. You need to talk about recent issues and discussions. It is also vital to keep the instructions by your teacher in your mind when you write your paper.
A student can use some of these interesting topics in physical anthropology term paper. Remember to make your topic unique and original by rephrasing or editing
Anthropology, as defined by the American Anthropological Association is, “the study of humans, past and present.” In the United States, anthropologists are educated in one of the four areas, sociocultural anthropology, biological/physical anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics.
Is race an antiquated concept? It's becoming so, and important (professional)anthropologists increasingly rely on genetics for determining human migrationsand human evolution. Observations made here concerning genetic differentiationrelate only to the last twelve thousand years or so.
It's important to remember that gene markers are placedinto their proper chronology based on generations rather than years, and anaverage historical generation is presumed to span 25 years. If recorded andpurely anthropological (i.e. non-genetic) knowledge of human migrations is ratherrecent, in Sicily there are certain native animal species that (based on geneticstudies) are European in origin while others are African. This involves not onlybirds that could fly to Sicily but mammals such as wild cats and foxes. Genes arepart of the human essence, but genetic testing only deals with particular genemarkers in certain sample individuals; it is the science of statistics thatallows us to generalize based on such studies. Various genetic traits (evensuperficial physical ones like red hair and green eyes) were introduced into thepopulation by individuals from various places. This is a generality; it isprobable that there were red-haired Sicilians in Greek times but equally probablethat there were far more following the influx of the "Celtic-Nordic"Normans intermarrying with the local population. History indicates thatamalgamation was always quite normal in Sicily; many of the tenth-century Arabs(mostly men) arriving from northern Africa married Sicilians who were alreadypresent, and the island's population doubled within two centuries as the Arabsfounded dozens of towns and smaller communities across Sicily. In the flow ofhistory, certain localized communities of ethnic Sicilians occasionally leftSicily (some Arabs from a few localities during the reign of in thethirteenth century and some Jews during the Spanish rule at the end of thefifteenth century), but most of these people remained to be completelyintegrated into the population. A mass exodus of Siculo-Arabs, who had lived inSicily for generations and knew no other country, would have entailed themigration of at least a half million people. Eventually, most Arabs and Jews inSicily were Christianized. This is reflected in the historical record not only inactual chronicles but in medieval feudal records of taxes and populationmovements and, still later, acts of baptism.
A key concept in Cultural Anthropology is Culture. Every society has a distinctive culture, which is unique in its view of the world, rules of moral conduct and patterns of social interactions. Culture has been defined in an infinite number of ways. The ultimate goal of anthropology is to find a fully encompassing and functional definition that separates culture from other closely related terms such as society.
Cultural anthropologists, however, have long emphasized the importance of the ethnographic method, an approach to understanding a different culture through participation, observation, the use of key informants, and interviews.
With the use of terms such as "Pacific Rim" to describe cultures oreven economies by the bodies of water they border (or particular physicalfeatures such as plains or mountain ranges) rather than by their continental landmasses and political borders, the term "Mediterranean" has again becomepopular in recent years. Considering that the ancient and early-medieval (pre AD1000) peoples of southern Europe, Asia Minor and northern Africa were raciallysimilar, and also culturally similar in many respects, we prefer to define them asMediterranean rather than European, Asian or African --partly becausebroad geographical definitions (based on continents) had little political meaninguntil "new" places (like America) were "discovered" in thelatter Middle Ages. The "European" Romans scarcely knew of theexistence of the Lapps of northern Scandinavia, a unique ethnic group. Though theEgyptians had contact with Ethiopia, the "African" Carthaginians andSaracens had little, if any, knowledge of the peoples of what is now Zambia. Viathe Persians, the Phoenicians traded with India and even Mongolia, but theyprobably knew nothing of Japanese civilization. Despite political differences,the Romans had more in common with the Carthaginians than with most northernEuropean groups, while the Carthaginians had more in common with the Persiansthan with most sub-Saharan peoples.
Twelfth-century Sicily's multiculturalism was not a trendy socio-politicalconcept. It was an everyday reality. By then, the human race had splintered intonumerous ethnic groupings and societies. When anthropologists speak genericallyof genetic or even "racial" influences, they are usually speaking ofvarious mutations and adaptations during the historical period (from cica 4000BC) or the known neolithic era (10,000 BC), when Proto-Celts,Proto-Indo-Europeans (and Sicily's Proto-Sicanians) were well established asdistinct cultures. Certain gene markers, based on mutations, are associated withcertain populations at certain times (in specific generations), but it is notonly these markers which made one a Roman, Viking or Mongol; that's really asocial matter.
"Racialist" descriptions of perceived "racial"characteristics of so-called sub-races (Pontids, Dinarics, Mediterranids,Armenids, Saharids, Arabids, and so forth) are still entertained in certain quarters. Viewed interms of the human genome, race (as the term is commonly used and understood) isa relatively insignificant (or at best superficial) and arbitrary consideration,and we are already seeing more reliance on purely genetic identification. Geneticdiversity is a reality. While race, as the term is traditionally used, is fastbecoming an outmoded concept, specific gene markers (based on relatively"recent" mutations) are naturally linked to persons sharing commonorigins (i.e. the same gene pools) coinciding with Asian, African, European orother "racial" groups or sub-groups. The legitimate scientific basis ofregional (racial) distinctions (but not racialism) is genetic differentiationover thousands of generations.
Not only concerned with an interest in human beings and their developements, Anthropology is much more broad in concept of trying to understand the relationships between human beings and all possible questions about them.