Definition of Paleoanthropology

What is Paleoanthropology?

Sculptor's Rendering of the Hominid Australopithecus afarensis
Sculptor's Rendering of the Hominid Australopithecus afarensis. Dave Einsel / Getty Images

Paleoanthropology is the study of our immediate human ancestors. Here are some other definitions.—Kris Hirst

Definition of Paleonanthropology

The study of the prehistoric human past is called “paleoanthropology.” Anthropology itself refers to the study of human beings. Paleoanthropology is the study of human ancestors in the distant past. Since we cannot travel back in time to observe these ancestors, scientists must use other kinds of evidence to understand what happened.

University of California at Berkeley

"Paleoanthropology" is more than a speciality within anthropology, or biology. It is an integrated study involving methods and insights from many fields.

More Definitions

This feature is part of the About.com Guide to Field Definitions of Archaeology and Related Disciplines.

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Hirst, K. Kris. "Definition of Paleoanthropology." ThoughtCo, Feb. 15, 2017, thoughtco.com/definition-of-paleoanthropology-172064. Hirst, K. Kris. (2017, February 15). Definition of Paleoanthropology. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-paleoanthropology-172064 Hirst, K. Kris. "Definition of Paleoanthropology." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-paleoanthropology-172064 (accessed December 11, 2017).