As a subfield of anthropology, biological anthropology itself is further divided into several branches. All branches are united in their common application of evolutionary theory to understanding human morphology and behavior.
Paleoanthropology is the study of fossil evidence for
human evolution, mainly using remains from extinct hominin and other primate species to determine the morphological and behavioral changes in the human lineage, as well as the environment in which human evolution occurred.
Human biology is an interdisciplinary field of biology, biological anthropology,
nutrition and medicine, which concerns international, population-level perspectives on health,
Primatology is the study of non-human primate behavior, morphology, and genetics. Primatologists use
phylogenetic methods to infer which traits humans share with other primates and which are human-specific adaptations.
Human behavioral ecology is the study of behavioral adaptations (foraging, reproduction, ontogeny) from the evolutionary and ecologic perspectives (see
behavioral ecology). It focuses on human
adaptive responses (physiological, developmental, genetic) to environmental stresses.
Bioarchaeology is the study of past human cultures through examination of human remains recovered in an
archaeological context. The examined human remains usually are limited to bones but may include preserved soft tissue. Researchers in bioarchaeology combine the skill sets of
archaeology, and often consider the cultural and mortuary context of the remains.
Paleopathology is the study of disease in antiquity. This study focuses not only on pathogenic conditions observable in bones or mummified soft tissue, but also on nutritional disorders, variation in stature or
morphology of bones over time, evidence of physical trauma, or evidence of occupationally derived biomechanic stress.
Forensic anthropology is the application of biological anthropology within a legal setting. Forensic anthropologists often assist law enforcement, coroners, and medical examiners in identifying and analyzing human remains.