Physical anthropology is defined as the branch of anthropology that is concerned with man as a biological organism. Physical anthropology deals with the origin of man, the comparative study of racial and sub racial groups, the measurement and classification of anatomical differences among men, problems of heredity, the influence of differences in the physical environment on the human organism and the interrelationship between biological and cultural differences among men. Physical anthropology is sometimes referred to as somatic anthropology or as somatology.
The recognition of the pervasive influence and impact of culture on the biology of man makes physical anthropology distinctive than human biology. It discusses the man's place in the animal kingdom. A detailed study of the order of primates is undertaken by anthropologists. In the evolution of mankind the title Homo sapiens that is attributed to modern human beings and their ancestors has existed for approx the past 50,000 years.
The anatomical and morphological changes that have occurred over the past millions of years to produce this species of mankind are studied in detail by the physical anthropologists. Physical anthropology is concerned about the extent to which biological factors influence the nature, behavior and culture of humans and population at large.