What Is Physical Anthropology;Examples,Field And Principles

Anthropology , in simple terms can be interpreted as the study of human knowledge. Meanwhile, according to  Harsojo , what is meant by anthropology is the science that studies mankind as a social creature, especially in the special characteristics of the body and methods of production, traditions and values ​​that make social life different from one another. other.

So, the object of anthropology  is human. In the sense of humans in relation to society, culture, ethnicity, and their behavior. Humans who live on this earth have a certain origin and can be grouped into certain groups based on some of the characteristics of the body that exist in most human individuals. Human groups based on the similarity of body characteristics as such, in anthropology are called races.

Understanding Physical Anthropology. In this regard, anthropology is divided into several branches of science, one of which is physical anthropology. Physical anthropology is a part of anthropology that studies the understanding and history of the occurrence of various colors of human beings with a viewpoint or as research material which is the characteristics of the human body, which includes:

  • outer / birth characteristics ( phenotype), such as skin color, hair shape, skull index, face shape, eye color, and so on.
  • deep characteristics ( genotype), such as blood type.

Also read:  Relationship between Anthropology and Other Social Sciences

Branch of Physical Anthropology . Physical anthropology can be divided into two branches of science, namely:

  • Paleoanthropology, which is a part of physical anthropology that studies human origins and human development (human evolution ), with the object of research in the form of human fossils found and present in the layers of the earth.
  • Somatology, which is a part of physical anthropology that studies the diversity of human races by observing the characteristics of the body (physical) as a whole (genotype and phenotypic characteristics).

Meanwhile , Harsojo divides physical anthropology into several branches of science based on the field of study, as follows:

  • Primate paleontology, which is the study of the diversity of humans who have been destroyed and studying living things that are related to humans.
  • Human evolution, which is the study of human physical development, from non-human beings to human beings today.
  • Anthropometry, which is the study of human body measurement techniques. Somatology, which is the study of the diversity of living humans, including the physical differences between individuals and groups or races.
  • Social anthropology, which is the study of human grouping based on physical differences (race), racial history, and racial mixing.
  • Comparative studies of organic growth and constitutional anthropology, namely the study of the predisposition (predisposition) of various types of the human body to a certain disease and studying specific behaviors such as criminal behavior.

Also read:  Scientific Method of Anthropology

Based on anthropology, all humans who live or have ever lived on this earth come from one species, namely Homo sapiens . In its development, humans are divided into various races, which are biological characteristics with the division of various types of races based on the physical signs of humans, which include:

  • body shape.
  • head shape.
  • the shape of the face and lower jawbone.
  • nose shape.
  • skin color, eye color, and hair color.
  • hair shape.


Also read:  Definition of Cultural Anthropology and the Field of Study of Cultural Anthropology

Meanwhile, in terms of grouping the types of the human race, experts distinguish them from the human morphological or outer aspects. Morphological characteristics are visible features which include:

  • qualitative characteristics, including skin color, eye color, and hair color and shape.
  • quantitative characteristics, which include body shape, height, head index, and so on.

Also read:  Cultural Diffusion Theory

Based on these morphological characteristics in humans, Alfred Kroeber , classifies the human race into the following:


  1. Caucasoid race, which includes:
  • Nordic, which is found in Northern Europe and around the Baltic Sea.
  • Alpin, which is found in Central Europe and Eastern Europe.
  • Mediterranean, which is around the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, Armenia, Arabia, and Iran.
  • Indic, which is found in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


  1. The Mongoloid race, which includes:
  • Asiatic Mongoloid, which is found in North Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia.
  • Malayan Mongoloid, which is found in Southeast Asia, the Indonesian Archipelago, Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • American Mongoloid, which is found in North America (the ice kimo people) and the inhabitants of Terra del Fuego in South America.


  1. Negroid race,which includes:
  • African Negroid, which is located on the African continent.
  • Negrito, which is found in Central Africa, the Malacca Peninsula, and the Philippines.
  • Melanesia, which is found in Papua and the Melanesian Islands.


  1. Special races, which include:
  • Bushmen, which are in the Kalahari desert region in South Africa.
  • Weddoid, which is located in the interior of Sri Lanka and South Sulawesi.
  • Australoids, which are found in Australia which are the original inhabitants of the Australian continent (Aboriginal tribes).
  • Ainu, which is on the island of Karafuto, Hokkaido in northern Japan.

Also read:  Cultural Functionalism Theory (Malinowski’s Theory of Functionalism).This is a brief description of Physical Anthropology and the field of study of Physical Anthropology .

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