What Is the Definition of Physical Anthropology?

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Physical anthropology is the study of humankind's evolutionary changes and of biological differences, including genetic differences, between groups of humans. Anthropology in general is the study of humanity, and social anthropology is the study of human culture. Physical anthropology is sometimes called biological anthropology.

Physical anthropologists study both the fossilized bones of ancient hominid species and the genetic structure of living human beings. Human physical adaptations to the environment around them, and sometimes to their culture, are of interest in their studies, as are nutrition, reproduction and physical growth. The study of physical anthropology had its beginnings in Aristotle's work but was formed into a science during the 1800s when paleontologists began discovering bones that were not human but had similar characteristics to humans.