Anthropology is the academic study of humanity. It deals with all that is characteristic of the human experience, from physiology and the evolutionary origins to the social and cultural organization of human societies as well as individual and collective forms of human experience. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences.
The term “anthropology” is from the Greek anthrōpos, “man”, understood to mean humankind or humanity, and -logia, “discourse” or “study.” Anthropology’s basic concerns are the definition of human life and origin, how social relations among humans are organized, who the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens are, what the characterizations of human physical traits are, how humans behave, why there are variations among different groups of humans, how the evolutionary past of Homo sapiens has influenced its social organization and culture and so forth.
In the United States, where anthropology was first defined as a discipline, the field is traditionally divided into four sub-fields: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. In Europe the discipline originated as ethnology and was originally defined as the study of social organization in non-state societies, later redefined as social anthropology. Socio-cultural anthropology is considered anthropology proper in most of Europe, and in the parts of the world that were influenced by the European tradition.