Anthropology Interview Preparation Guide
Download PDF

Anthropology Interview Questions and Answers will Guide you about that Anthropology is the study of human beings, everywhere and throughout time. Anthropology has its intellectual origins in both the natural sciences, and the humanities. Its basic questions concern, What defines Homo sapiens? Learn more about the Anthropology and get preparation of Anthropology Jobs Interview by our Anthropology Interview Questions and Answers Guide.

50 Anthropology Questions and Answers:

1 :: Can you give me your take on the initial migration into North and South America?

The early appearance of civilizations in South America does not contradict the Bering Strait colonization theory. None of these civilizations is even close to the youngest estimate for the first human dispersal into the New World across the Bering Strait.

There is some evidence from DNA variation among chickens, of all things, that suggests there may have been contacts between Polynesians and the western coast of South America within the last thousand years, but the oldest plausible dates for such contacts are much younger than the oldest complex societies in the Andes.

2 :: Could you tell me which the biggest and/or most powerful human species was in the past?

Neanderthals were very strong, but there are some fossils of earlier hominins from Europe (Homo heidelbergensis, e.g. Atapuerca) and from Africa (Homo rhodesiensis, e.g., Bodo, Kabwe) that were also very big, strong people.

It is we very gracile postglacial humans, who were divergent from our Ice Age ancestors.

3 :: When did first Caucasoid man appear? Was the earliest Cro-Magnon Caucasoid? What Caucasoid characteristics did Cro-magnon have?

There is a lot of variability among female Upper Paleolithic European skulls. Some look "caucasoid" -big noses, chins. While others (e.g. Grimaldi) retain some African characters -alveolar prognathism, frontal bossing.

The simple answer is that the category "caucasoid" does not really help one sort Pleistocene-age skulls into meaningful categories. The characteristics on which the classification is based really only sort out geographically among Holocene-age skulls (i.e., those less than 12,000 years old).

4 :: Does ones cultural and social environment dictate the type of religion practiced?

As children, we learn our values and value system (religion) from our parents and adults around us. Since we are not aware of the larger society around us (or) the culture into which we were born until much later, the reverse tends to be true.

5 :: What year did the total number of people living in the world equal the total number of people who had already died?

To answer your question one would need accurate data spanning thousands of years. 99% of records come from a time after writing was invented. Even then, most of that information is from latter times.

The following is a helpful article by Carl Haub, which explains fluctuations in human population over various periods and provides you with an estimated figure:

6 :: How can we understand human beings? How can we Study them?

The field of Anthropology is the study of Human Beings. It incorporates subjects like sociology, psychology, medicine, economics, and many other subfields. In addition, since we are studying ourselves, we have many people who may act as examples.

7 :: What type of food Neanderthal people ate and how they cooked it?

From variation in the Nitrogen and Carbon isotope composition of their bones, we know the Neanderthals at a lot of meat and fat, mainly from large terrestrial mammals that were grazers (mammoth, wooly rhino, horse), but probably also mixed feeders like aurochs (wild cattle) bison, various deer (red, roe, fallow), ibex, wild boar. They may have hunted bear, too, but probably did so by raiding hibernation dens. Recent studies from sites near Gibraltar (Spain) suggest they occasionally ate fish and marine mammals (seal) too. The amount of meat in their diet probably varied through time and space (more meat in colder habitats, seasons; more plants in warmer habitats, seasons), as it does in the diets of most omnivores.

Cooking probably involved mostly roasting (holding meat over fire or placing it on heated rocks). There is no evidence for boiling (no pottery, no heated stones [used to heat water in leather containers]).

8 :: Why are there no signs of civilization prior to about 6000 years ago if modern humans have been around for about 125,000 years?

There is a numerous evidence of settlements prior to 6,000 BP, especially in the Middle East where civilizations were first presumed to have originated with the advance of agriculture. Here are just a few examples:

- Neve David (Israel) - 13 kya

- Gobekli Tepe (Turkey) - 11 Kya

- Abu Hureyra (Levant) - 11 kya

- Ain Ghazal (Jordan) - 7.5 kya

- Catalhoyuk (Turkey) - 7.5 kya

All of these were examples of early states. They were characterized as having centralized political institutions in which ruling elites exercised control over the population that may have numbered to several thousand individuals.

9 :: Did Neanderthals use fire? Some estimates have Neanderthals living in Asia 200,000 years ago. Has this been verified or debunked?

Yes, of course they used fire. They used it for heat and for cooking. They were the original Bar-B-Q experts. In addition, since they evolved, they used fire. Even Homo erectus used fire.

As for living in Asia, they did not go to Far East but they were in Europe until about 40 thousand years ago. They exited from Africa some 600 thousand years ago and they have been found as Far East in Asia as the Ural Mountains and into the mountains of India. The last ones may have died out some 75 thousand years ago.

10 :: Are humans bones all the same size, or some bigger than other?

The adult human body contains 206 bones, sizes of which vary significantly. Some are large, while some are almost microscopic. Ossicles (also called auditory ossicles) of the inner ear, are the smallest bones of the human body (length may exceed 450 mm). On the other hand, the femur (the thighbone) is the longest and most voluminous bone. The average human femur is 19 inches in length and 0.92 inches in diameter and can support up to 30 times the weight of an adult.

11 :: What assumptions have been made about "Sin" or "shame" by anthropologist?

First, neither Anthropologists nor the Anthropological studies are solely guided by assumptions ... this is more about looking for empirical evidences.

It is a commonplace of anthropology to distinguish between a ‘sin’ and ‘shame’. While considering ‘shame’, Anthropologists focus on social mores revolves around the related ideas of honor, duty, country, glory, loyalty, name, praise, and reputation. It may be concerned with group-identity as well as individual-identity to understand about the cognition and social constructs about ‘shame’. ‘Sin’, on the other hand refers to anything that does not ‘obey the rules’ of the social construct at super structural level.

12 :: Which came first? Monotheism or Polytheism

Max Müller, Emile Durkheim, some neo-Darwinist theories describe that after animism, it was polytheism which came in to practice and then evolved polytheism in most of the cases (which include most of the great traditions or major religious trends). For example, comparative religion often shows that Judaism underwent a process of evolution from animism to polytheism to henotheism (the transitional stages from polytheism to monotheism) to monotheism. However, it is not applicable to Buddhism, as it is neither considered as monotheism nor polytheism, rather a philosophy and a religion … at least to most of the followers of Buddhism. In addition, it becomes confusing when we move to Sumerian and Egyptian evidences of religious artifacts.

13 :: In what way are the inhabitants of El Alto, Bolivia different from other people?

The city of El Alto is one of the highest cities in the world, up to 4150 meters (13,615 feet) above sea level. The main factors of El Alto are:

1. Rich ethnic culture: As of the 2001 census, the population was 649,958 and 79% of them are Aymara. This ethnic group lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a subject people of the Inca, and later of the Spanish in the 16th century. Until now, they contained many of their ethnic markers.

2. Economy: The recent growth of commerce and industry has made local authorities to claim the title of "Bolivia's Economic Capital."

3. Rapid population growth: Explosive population growth (10% a year) has meant that.

14 :: Why is necessity NOT the mother of invention in evolutionary terms?

Because variability has to be in existence before natural selection can act on it. Variability arises through mutation not the needs of a particular organism. For example, when I work in East Africa, my need for darker skin pigmentation and longer limbs to radiate heat has no influence whatsoever on the number of melanofors in my skin or the length of my limbs.

15 :: Are there different types of anthropology, if so explain?

Yes, there are several "types" of Anthropology:

1) General Anthropology - the study of man

2) Forensic/Physical Anthropology - the study of human remains and the potential surroundings and cause of death

3) Migration Anthropology - which looks at the genetics of human groups and their migration around the world

4) Ethnography - the study of existing human populations

5) Archaeology - the study of past cultures based on their habitation, burial, and environmental sites

6) Economics - The study of man’s economic systems

7) Proximics - the study of human distancing and human reactions to situational psychology

8) Psychology

9) Sociology

16 :: What is the cultural background of Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is a very diverse place with people from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, the Low Countries, the mountains of Eastern Europe and else where. Many of the miners came from Eastern Europe, Wales, and Ireland and occupied the mining region of the state. The "Pennsylvania Dutch" (Germans) lives in the Piedmont of the state and hold tight to their cultural identity. The English and Scots lived in the valleys of both major rivers.

17 :: Why do some people have slanted eyes, while others have round ones? More importantly where can I find a reliable resource that will explain this and which I can reference in a report?

The shape of the outside area of the eye is what provides the apparent shape. All eyeballs are round and the eye socket is as well but the genetic make of peoples of the mongoloid type (mostly Asians) have a particular feature where the outer corners of the eye are slightly above the centerline, thus creating an almond shape.

18 :: In what year of life are more than 50% of people born in a particular year dead.

Many factors go into actuarial calculations. Among them are gender, socio-economic factors, nationality, race, and even "years of peace" in a given region. So if you looked at a place like Somalia, life expectancy is very low, 35 or 40. This means that there is very high infancy mortality and that most die by the time they are in their mid to late 20's. This is due in part to warfare, hunger, drought etc... On the other hand, the US has a much higher life expectancy rate and a relatively low infancy mortality rate.

19 :: What determines the race of a child in a white and black couple? Father Black and mother white

In such cases, the child is racially mixed. The child may have lighter skin then the black parent and may have recognizable features from the black parent as well just as we all share features and characteristics of our parents, regardless of racial mix. In the next generation, the child's children may exhibit lighter or darker skin.

20 :: What was the evolutionary reason for different shapes of eyes? Eastern Asian eyes in particular.

Eyes, like any other physical feature such as height, skin color, and shape of teeth for example, are influenced by the interaction of genes with the environment. We evolve features that best suit the environment and in the case of East Asians, the shape of their eyes has to do with limiting the amount of sand entering them. When the first North Asians entered that part of the world some 25, 000 years ago, they were exposed to extreme sand storms from the Gobi desert, thus evolving the more oval eye shape through time.

What is important to understand is that:

Genotype (genes) + Environment = Phenotype (physical features)