Physical (or as it is sometimes called, biological) anthropology is a biological science that focuses on the evolution, behavior, and variation (genetic and morphological) of humans, our living primate relatives, and the fossil remains of our hominid ancestors and their relatives. As a subdiscipline of anthropology, however, physical anthropologists work in the combined realm of the biological and social sciences. Specifically, unlike human biologists, physical anthropologists study humans from a biocultural perspective.
Tulane University's Anthropology Department has three physical anthropologists on its faculty. Professor Trenton Holliday specializes in paleoanthropology (the multidisciplinary study of human evolution), human paleontology (the study of hominid fossils), and human functional morphology. Professor Katharine Jack is a primatologist who specializes in the ethology (behavior), ecology, and conservation of New World primates, especially members of the genus Cebus (capuchin monkeys). Professor John Verano specializes in skeletal biology, paleopathology (the study of ancient disease), bioarchaeology of South America, and forensic anthropology (the application of physical anthropology to questions of medico-legal significance). Each of these faculty members offers courses in all of the above areas of physical anthropology; for a list of these courses please refer to the Tulane catalogue. Those interested in graduate study in any of the above areas of physical anthropology should contact the faculty member whose interests most closely match their own.