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IAS Foundation 2023-24, Batch Starts: 27th July

Anthropology Optional Paper I Section B by Sourabh Mishra

  • Category
    Optional
  • Test Date
    2022-06-03 07:00:00
  • Evaluated
    Yes

Instruction:

  • Attempt both questions
  • The test carries 30 marks.
  • Write Each answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. Discuss Jane Goodall’s contributions to primatology.

Question #2. ‘Human adaptations are always bio-cultural in nature’. Discuss with reference to human adaptation to high-altitude climate.

(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively).

Model Answer

Question #1.Discuss Jane Goodall’s contributions to primatology.

Approach

  1. Introduction: About Jane Goodall
  2. Findings- primate behaviour, non verbal communication etc
  3. Significance- Inferences about homo sapiens

Hints:

Jane Goodall is an English primatologisu and anthropologist. Considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tan2ania in 1960, where she witnessed human-like behaviours amongst chimpanzees, including armed conflict.

Her dedicated and pioneering research is now recognized as a milestone in primate ethology.

Her two books, In the Shadow of Man and The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior are major contributions to the scientific literature on pongid behavior.

Goodall’s pioneering research has resulted in original information on wild chimpanzee vocal communication, sexual activity, social hierarchies, facial expressions, greeting gestures, parental care, nest building, diseases, diet, grooming, and play. In general, chimpanzee behavior bears uncanny similarities to human behavior.

Findings after chimpanzee study:

  • A shifting band of 60—80 members consists of a hierarchy: adult males with a temporary male leader, young males, females with babies, and females without babies.

– A chimpanzee group is dominated by the top-ranking or alpha male, and each sex has its own fluctuating dominance hierarchy

  • There is no nuclear family unit; the only temporary bonding relationship is the parental care of an adult female for her infant or juvenile.
  • In nature, chimpanzees live a casual life within constantly shifting groups (these societies meander within a home range). They may even defend their territory against other intruding chimpanzee units.
  • Chimpanzees show much individuality, differing in their facial expressions and mannerisms. They are very intelligent and highly emotional: their temperament ranges from violent aggression to gentle playfulness. Actually, one may even speak of chimpanzee personalities.
  • Chimpanzees communicate and control behavior through a variety of calls as well as by touch, gesture, and cooperative behavior patterns (especially play and grooming).
  • Goodall’s major discovery is that wild chimpanzees make, use, and transport simple tools. They deliberately modify stems, twigs, sticks, or blades of grass for the specific purpose of probing insect mounds at certain times in order to extract and eat ants or termites.
  • Goodall was the first primatologist to observe the frenzied “rain dance” ritual of this great ape, a stylized display of apparent nervous behavior. During a thunder-and-lightning storm, excited male chimpanzees stage a unique pattern of activity: They leap to the jungle floor and careen through the grass, then charge downhill while bellowing and brandishing boughs; this activity is followed by the act of slapping the ground or swatting at trees.

Significance/Inferences of these findings:

  1. The study of primate behaviour is essential for giving us clues to the possible behaviours of our ancestors.
  2. We can know about the possible reasons for the origin of :
  3. Factors and forces behind a shift to bipedalism
  4. Language, supporting the need hypothesis
  5. Notions of territoriality
  6. Development of a social organization and consequently family
  7. Adaptations to adjust to external environment
  8. However, it is an important study in its own right. It has now become our responsibility to manage much of the life on this planet, and in order to preserve what we currently have, weneed to understand what the animals require in terms of space, diet, group organisation etc.

Question #2. ‘Human adaptations are always bio-cultural in nature’. Discuss with reference to human adaptation to high-altitude climate. 

Human beings have been able to sustain themselves at the apex position by means of their adaptive capabilities to their external environment. 

The process of adaptation starts with: 

Acclimatization- Acclimatization involves changes in physiological processes in response to a changed environment. It is always a temporary change which means if the individual reverts to the original environment, the changes vanish. For example, muscle enlargement as a result of frequent and demanding physical exercise is reversed when the individual begins to lead a more sedentary life.

It proceeds with Adaptation

Biological- It is a permanent change in structure and physiology of an organism in response. 

Cultural- Use of material objects to counter the impact of the environment on the human body.

With reference to high altitude climate, the stress is lack of adequate oxygen supply. 

Hypoxia results from a decrease in partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere proportionally to increase in the attitude. This has the following effect on our body: 

  • Leads to reduction in O2 Heamoglobin saturation. It interferes with the oxygen acquisition at the cardiopulmonary level and utilisation by the cells.
  • Hypoxia induced anorexia and dehydration due to increased ventilation and low humidity at high attitude leading to weight loss.

Immediate Responses: 

  • The immediate response to lack of oxygen (hypoxia) is an increase in the volume of air respired per minute. This is brought about by rapid and deeper respirations.
  • There is augmented heart rate and cardiac output (Heart rate reduces to normal sea level followed by reduced cardiac output on acclimatization)
  • At 4500m acclimatisation takes place in approximately 10 days

Adaptation in Highlanders: 

  • Increase in number of capillaries: the PO2 of O2 is as such less. So an increase in the number of capillaries will shorten the distance of travel.
  • Increase in pulmonary ventilation: This is achieved by 
    • By increase in lung volume (leading to large chest)- (Increased pulmonary arterial pressure is associated with right ventricular hypertrophy indicating increased workload characteristic of native population)
    • By high residual lung volume.
    • This is a developmental adjustment during childhood by increase in number of alveoli and surface area. The earlier the age or the longer the duration of stay at high altitude, the greater the environmental influence on body dimensions and respiratory functions.
  • Polycythemia: Developmental response during neonatal life due to stimulation of bone narrow. Increase in RBC and reduction in Plasma leads to more oxygen being carried.
  • Increase work capacity due to efficient use of O2 (Athletes who are well trained are also found to be equally able)
  • Increase adult work capacity in children born in high altitude. 
  • Effect on reproduction: 
    • Low birth weight babies born, so that enough 02 given without affecting mother 
    • High postnatal deaths 
    • Growth rate and development of children slow due to more demand from chest & bone marrow
    • Maturation also delayed till 16 years.

Cultural Responses: 

  • Clothing 
  • Use of oxygen masks 
  • High carbohydrate diet 
  • Use of herbs to increase RBC content in blood

Case study 

  • The altitude natives Anedean Indians have larger chests and greater lung capacity as well as more surface areas in the capillaries of lungs which facilitate the transfer of oxygen to the blood.
  • The Spitians who inhabit high altitudes in the North West Himalayas showed large chest size in relation to stature indicating developmental adaptation to low oxygen pressure of high altitude.
  • The larger chest circumference of the Bods of Ladakh as compared to lowland Indians also suggests a structural response to the greater lung function capacity and adaptation to high altitude hypoxia.
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