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What is Anthropology?

Chinese_boy_with_big_hatAnthropology is the broad study of humankind around the world and throughout time.  It is concerned with both the biological and the cultural aspects of humans.  Included in anthropology are four main subfields:

Biological (or Physical) Anthropology

This subfield studies the mechanisms of biological evolution, genetic inheritance, human adaptability and variation, primatology, and the fossil record of human evolution.

Cultural Anthropology

This subfield includes studies of culture, ethnocentrism, cultural aspects of language and communication, subsistence and other economic patterns, kinship, sex and marriage, enculturation, social control, political organization, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, and culture change.


This subfield studies the prehistory and early history of cultures around the world; major trends in cultural evolution; and techniques for finding, excavating, dating, and analyzing material remains of past societies.

Linguistic Anthropology

This subfield studies the human communication process focusing on the importance of socio-cultural influences; nonverbal communication; and the structure, function, and history of languages, dialects, pidgins, and creoles.

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Faculty and Programs

Fanti_chiefPalomar College offers anthropology courses that satisfy both natural and social/behavioral science general education requirements.   In addition, students can earn an Associate of Arts Degree in Archaeology and occupational certificates in Archaeological Excavation and Archaeological Surveying.

There are currently three full-time anthropology professors:

We have two emeritus professors:

Some Anthropology courses are cross-listed with Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Chicano Studies, and English.  These courses are usually taught by Steven Crouthamel and Patricia Dixon (American Indian Studies), and Anthony Guerra (Chicano Studies). There also are 5-8 adjunct anthropology faculty teaching each semester.

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Exploring Darwin

To celebrate Charles Darwin’s Birthday each year the department hosts a series of  public lectures on current topics in Evolutionary Biology and Biological Anthropology. The 2017 Exploring Darwin Conference schedule was:

Tuesday, November 7th

9:35      PASCAL GAGNEUX,  Associate Professor of Pathology; Associate Director, Division of Comparative Pathology and Medicine; Associate Director of CARTA, UCSD

            Anthropogeny: the Study of the Origin of Humans

11:10    ERIN RILEY, Professor, San Diego State University

Living with Others: Exploring the Human-Primate Interface in Indonesia and Florida

12:45    NAOMI LOWE, Adjunct Professor, Palomar College

            Short and Long Term Mating strategies: Possible Sexually Selected Niches Resulting in the Introversion-Extroversion Continuum

2:20      MARY ELLEN BROOKS, Adjunct Professor, Palomar College

            Survival of the Wisest: Jonas Salk’s Outlook on Future Human Evolution

Wednesday, November 8th

9:35      NANCY CAINE, Professor, California State University, San Marcos. Secretary General, International Primatological Society

Snakes! The Evolution of Snake Detection and Avoidance

11:10    JENNIFER PARKINSON, Assistant Professor, University of San Diego

           Diet and Evolution in our Earliest Human Ancestors: the Impact of Meat Eating on Hominin Evolution

12:45     CASEY ROULETTE, Assistant Professor, San Diego State University

           Plant Neurotoxins, Patterns of Use, and Parasites among Aka Foragers of the Congo Basin

2:20      SARA BECK, Adjunct Professor, Palomar College

            Birds and the Evolution of Dinosaurs



Below are links to podcasts to a selection of the previous year’s presentations. Please note that all content are the property of the authors.


Web Links

Indian_boysDISCLAIMER:  The Internet links listed below take you outside of this web page.  Palomar College makes no representation concerning the content of these sites, nor do the links to these sites serve as endorsements.

General Anthropology Links:

Anthropology as a Career links:

Cultural Anthropology links:

Archaeology links:

Chinese-womenLinguistic Anthropology links:

Applied Anthropology links:

Ethnobiology / Ethnopharmacology links:

Forensic Anthropology links:

Medical Anthropology links:

Primatology links:

Indonesian_musciansRegional Anthropology / Archaeology:


Virtual Exhibits and Trips:

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Created by Dennis O’Neil, Maintained by Jim Eighmey
Behavioral Sciences Department, Palomar College, San Marcos, California

This page was last updated on October 16, 2014.
Photos on this page reproduced with permission from Corel Corporation, Ottawa, Canada