Through the study of Anthropology, through both our course text and the work of Nina Jablonski (as discussed in her “Ted Talk” we viewed in class), we know that there is no biological basis for race. As these and other experts state, race biologically refers to “sub-species”, and we know that there is only one species of human on earth. We are in fact over 99.70% the same genetically, that is, we differ in only 0.20% of our genes.
However, there are various “types of humans”, based on phenotypic traits, place of origin, and other superficial traits, which we have labeled as “races”, “ethnicities”, “cultures”, and so forth. We also know that it is basically through the processes of “natural selection”, among other evolutionary forces, driven by both “diet and environmental conditions”, over the course of many generations and thousands of years, which have created the diverse differences we see amongst modern Homo Sapiens today. Nevertheless, even with the obvious regional differences of skin color, hair type, body shape, and so forth, we see as reality that we are simply one species exhibiting great variation in the manifestation of our varied phenotypes!
For this assignment, please write an 700 – 800 word essay discussing the terms “Genotype and Phenotype”, within the context of the statement “There is more variation within a population, than there is variation between populations”. Think of both “phenotypic” variation, as well as “cultural” variations that affect both our phenotypic traits, as well as how we perceive these differences.
Some ideas to think about are: What does Nina Jablonski have to say on this? What does our course text say? Do they agree? What do the terms genotype and phenotype actually refer to? What does this statement about variation and populations actually mean, and how do the concepts of genotype and phenotype help to explain the statement? What would some good examples of these concepts be? Remember, what we call race, is simply variation in phenotype, created through forces of natural and other evolutionarily selective processes. Make certain to address the definition of a species and how that may explain why humans are considered as one highly variable species, but with no subspecies alive today to separate us into the so called “races of man”!