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It may, for instance, aid governments of underdeveloped countries in showing backward peoples how to cope with the complexities of 20th-century civilization.
It may also be used by governments in the formulation of social, educational, and economic policies for ethnic minorities within their borders.
Linguistics is a valuable tool of the anthropologist because it enables him to observe a people's system of communication and to learn the ideas by which they view the world.
It also enables him to collect an oral history of the group being studied.
The word anthropology is derived from two Greek words: anthropos meaning "man" or "human"; and logos, meaning "thought" or "reason." Anthropologists attempt, by investigating the whole range of human development and behavior, to achieve a total description of cultural and social phenomena.
Because anthropology is such a wide-ranging discipline, investigating as it does every facet of all human societies, it must draw upon research done in other disciplines to form its conclusions.
Religious teaching also suggested that all species were created at one time, thus precluding any evolution from lower to higher forms.
The first archaeological discoveries indicating the very ancient origins of mankind were not made until the middle of the 19th century, and then many anthropologists ignored or disputed them.
Among these disciplines are history, geography, geology, biology, anatomy, genetics, economics, psychology, and sociology, along with the highly specialized tasks of linguistics and archaeology already mentioned.
Different terms are used to describe the fields of anthropology in the United States and Europe.