Difference between Paleoanthropologist and Archaeologist

Key Difference: A Paleoanthropologist’s task is to recover and interpret all the clues left by early hominines or ancestors. An archaeologist deals with the field work that might consist of digging and restoring artifacts, or human-made objects, from ancient ruins.

Paleoanthropologist deals with the study of human ancestors in the distant past. It is very obvious that one cannot travel back in time to observe the ancestors, thus scientists have to use other kind of methods to understand what had happened. They mainly rely on evidence in the form of artifacts, fossilized bones of ancestors, and the contexts in which these specimens are found. The term is derived from the Greek word where palaeos means “old” and “ancient”, anthrpos means “man”, and logia means “study”.

Paleoanthropologist basically combines archaeologist's, geologist's, and paleontologist's research, in which each is contributing vital information that is necessary to understand human origins and evolution. They actively search for traces of the past that have not disappeared, and they work to infer what happened by using these clues.

An archaeologist mainly deals with the study of artifacts, or human-made objects, from ancient ruins. The materials that humans used, made, or modified are studied by archaeologists. They analyze skeletal remains and artifacts, such as tools, pottery, cave paintings, and ruins of buildings. The term is derived from the Greek word archaiologia, where archaio means “ancient” and logos means “science” and “study”. Archaeology is the science which deals with the study of ancient times.

It provides an insight of the ancient times by analyzing the remaining materials belonging to that time. It aims to preserve the history for present and future learning. In simple terms, an archaeologist deals with the field work that might consist of digging up and restoring artifacts, or human-made objects from ancient ruins.

Comparison between Paleoanthropologist and Archaeologist:

 

Paleoanthropologist

Archaeologist

Description

Paleoanthropologist deals with the study of the origins and predecessors of the present human species, using fossils and other remains.

Archeologist deals with the study of ancient times. It provides an insight of the ancient times by analyzing the remained materials belonging to that time.

Origin

Greek palaeos means “old” and “ancient”, anthrpos means “man”, and logia means “study”

Greek archaiologia – archaio means "ancient" and logia means "word" or "study."

Pronunciation

pey-lee-oh-an-thruh-pol-uh-jist

ahr-kee-ol-uh-jist

Fields

Three basic sciences that contribute the most data in paleoanthropology are archaeology, geology, and paleontology.

 

  • Archaeology – the invention of metals, most early human ancestors made and used stone tools.

 

  • Geology –it is the study of the earth processes that produce sedimentary deposits and contribute to studies of pre-historic environments.

 

  • Paleontology – it is the study of fossils. They are traces of past life, ranging from bones of tiny mammals to birds.
  • Ethnoarchaeology – deals with the ethnographic investigation of living communities in order to acquire knowledge of the past.
  • Landscape archaeology – deals with the study of the various changes that take place in different landscapes, both naturally as well as due to human invention.
  • Underwater archaeology – associated with the study of underwater evidence such as shipwrecks, water-buried cities, etc.
  • Environmental archaeology – deals with the study of interrelationship between the ancient people and their natural environment.
  • Household archaeology – recent development, deals with a small-scale excavation within a given area on an archaeological site.
  • Aviation archaeology – deals with finding historical remains of aircraft; everything related to aviation.
  • Forensic archaeology – finding evidence on crime scenes.
  • Aerial archaeology – is the investigation of archaeological remains from the air.
  • Battlefield archaeology – deals with digging up battlefields of the past and recovering evidence relating to military activities.

Renowned personalities

  • Eugene Dubois – he came across a skull during 1891.
  • André Leroi-Gourhan – he was interested in technology and aesthetics and a penchant for philosophical reflection.
  • Mary, Louis and Richard – they worked in Kenya and has discovered the Proconsul africanus in 1948.
  • Jacques Cousteau - inventor of the aqualung which led underwater divers to new depths of exploration.
  • Leslie Alcock- His major excavations include Dinas Powys hill fort in Wales and Cadbury Castle in Somerset.

Image Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org, marineinsight.com

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