Anthropology relies on observation and research. These researchers are conducting demographic field work in Kenya.

Photograph courtesy
  • On November 28, 1908, French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss was born in Brussels, Belgium. Lévi-Strauss would come to be known as the “father of anthropology.” He compared cognitive structures of "civilized" and "primitive" peoples, arguing that human characteristics are the same everywhere, from the most technologically advanced societies to the least-developed cultures.
    Lévi-Strauss helped the scientific community realize that the differences between cultures are smaller and more nuanced than previously thought. His four-volume work Mythologiques (1973) introduces a myth from the Bororo people of the Amazon basin, and traces its characteristics in more than 180 related myths, from the tip of South America to the Arctic Circle.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    anthropologist Noun

    person who studies cultures and characteristics of communities and civilizations.

    basin Noun

    a dip or depression in the surface of the land or ocean floor.

    Encyclopedic Entry: basin
    characteristic Noun

    physical, cultural, or psychological feature of an organism, place, or object.

    myth Noun

    legend or traditional story.

    nuance Noun

    very slight difference in meaning or response.

    primitive Adjective

    simple or crude.

    technology Noun

    the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.