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Human Variation

Hector Robles

Salt Lake Community College


Human Variation

Human variation can be explained through different lenses. Notably it is almost always

explained through two different perspective. It is explained from those who are in a branch that is

explain through science. Then we have those who stand in a cultural standpoint. Both giving us a

clear understanding of what human variation is to ones own, with both giving credibility to their

opinion through supporting statements. Both standpoints are trying to dismantle the opposing

sides opinion to give credibility to ones own opinion. A constant battle between both sides of

the party.

In the article Genes and Hormones: What Make Up an Individuals Sex we are

introduced to the gendered body and how it comes forth to being the gendered body that it is.

Daniela Crocetti, the author of this academic journal explores the many different ways on how

science acts on human variation by introducing us to genes and hormones and how they are the

determining factors in the gender biological body, challenging any other view through her

respective work.

Not much changes when we transition to Gary D. James as he shines light on human

variation through his own interpretation. His article Climate-Related Morphological Variation

and Physiological Adaptions in Homo Sapiens talks about human variation with regards to

environmental adaptability and how theres a correlation between the diversity of the climate and

human variation.

Both these articles give their respective opinions about human variation from a scientific

stand point while supporting their opinions with academic research along with thoughts of their

own. In my article, Ill be challenging both Daniela Crocetti and Gary D. James and their articles

to expose to you the dichotomy between the perspectives of science and culture upon human


We are introduced to the scientific perspective in Daniela Crocettis article Genes and

Hormones: What Make Up an Individuals Sex. Here we see our author Daniela Crocetti

backing up her claim that the gender body is created through a complex network of

interactions (Crocetti, 2013, p. 31) by dismantling several of myths.

A myth that we see Daniela Crocetti is the myth that states that sex chromosomes are the

biological factors determining phenotypic sex. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 29) Which is not the case, as

many experts now know just because one carries an XX sex chromosome does not mean that

they are to look or feel like a female. The same goes for those that carry an XY sex chromosome

indicating that theyre male. This does not indicate ones biological sex, theres more that meets

the eye in this situation. This is a multiplex topic where we cant assume that theres a simple

answer to the discussion that were talking about. As stated in the article, scientific research

and medical practice frame chromosomes and hormones as creating absolute masculinity as

opposed to a spectrum of biological and physical gender types. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 27)

Scientific research has allowed us to broaden are way of seeing things and has allowed us

to challenge old assumptions. We are introduced to this concept that where we are exposed that

new research indicates that female fetal formation is also an active process, requiring other

genetic makers such as DAX-1 and WTN4. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 29) Exposing us that theres

more to the formation of a female than the typical XX sex chromosome. This backs up Daniela

Crocetti claim where she states that theres more to the pictures when indicating what a female is

and what a male is. What are informed by the article that is true when it states that XX induvial

are not always biologically female or XY individuals are not always biologically male.

(Crocetti, 2013, p. 28) Typically this has been the norm but its up to science to break this norm

by challenging it.

We know that the norm associates males with XY and females with XX and that there

stereotypes surrounding what a female is and what a male is. We are introduced to this through

the article as it states that gender role often represents culturally specific stereotypes and

activities, gender identity refers to which of the gender categories one self-identifies with,

regardless of stereotyped behavior. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 29) Break down the gender binary and for

us to be nondiscriminatory.

Growing up weve learned that theres two gender, male and female. Theres people who

fit neither or in other cases theres people who fit both. This causes discomfort which is why are

to accept and acknowledge those dont fit in the typical male and female spectrum. The objective

here is to be inclusive, this is important to those who identify themselves as transgender and

gender nonconforming people. Were complex people which is why we should push to fight this


Theres a group of individuals who suffer from DSD, commonly known as disorders of

sex development. A study showed that disorders of sex development occur in 1 in 2000 people,

making this a common disorder. These individuals suffer severely. These individuals are different

from the rest because of their gender components. These individuals as the article stated suffer

from the stigma of the medical treatment that they receive in childhood. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 28)

This is due to the norm that we have that biologically we could only either be female or male, not

taking into recognition that we have individuals who suffer from disorders of sex development

because of stigmas.

Recent studies have showed that in newer models, the development of the body is seen

to be highly influenced by the functions and processes of development, not just genetic

material. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 26) Some of the external factors that have influenced the functions

and processes of development instead of genetic material is the environment in which one is in.

Environmental factors play a big role.

Another interesting statement found in this article is that by having male gonads does

not make a person a man. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 28) This claim backs up Daniela Crocettis claim

that states that chromosol material is not the primary determining factor in the gender biological

body. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 31) This reveals that the gender body is something much more

complex and that chromosol material is not the only form on determining ones gender with

regards to biology.

As technology keeps advancing we are finding ourselves present with new

explanations/solutions for our material. We are broadening our perspective because of this and

we are as well challenging our old perspectives. We live in an innovative society who is always

pushing for new discoveries

Concluding Dianlas Crocettis article Genes and Hormons: What Make Up an

Individuals Sex She makes it clear that although she has supported many of her claims with

academic research, theres still a lot of information to be discovered surrounding this topic.

Daniela Crocetti ends her article by giving the reader a nice take home message by stating that

That the gender body is created through a complex network of interactions, and it will only be

when we eliminate all of our assumptions about what maleness and femaleness are that we will

be able to see how it all really works. (Crocetti, 2013, p. 31) This statement is given out to

encourage individuals for them to become more open minded and less ignorant when taking the

gender body into consideration.

What makes up an individuals sex within my culture is by who does what tasks. In

simpler terms if one is to do hard work labor within a population that individual would be

considered a man. If an individual were to do the light work that doesnt require much strength

one would be considered to be a female. These stereotypes are the stereotypes within my culture,

the Mexican culture.

An individual within the Mexican culture is considered to be a male when they are the

ones to protect the population from anyone who causes harm. A male is the dominant one in this

situation, they are the ones that keep stability within the population. The female in this situation

is typically considered to be the vulnerable one who cant take care of ones self and has to rely

on the man.

A male is considered to be a male within the Mexican culture when they are the ones that

bring food to the table. What this means is that the male is the one that works all day and earns a

paycheck to make sure that theory family has its necessities required to live. While the female

does not to do this instead the female does not earn a paycheck rather the females job being of

them staying with their offspring and caring for them.

Within the Mexican culture what makes up an individuals sex is not their genes or

hormones but rather the tasks that they are required to do thatll make them either female or

male. The norm within the Mexican culture is that if youre the male youre the dominant key

player whereas if youre a female youre of importance but not of great importance compared to

the male. These are norms that as stated in Danielas Crocetti that we should break for the benefit

of all.

Transitioning to Gary D. James article Climate-Related Morphological Variation and

Physiological Adaptations in Homo Sapiens. In this article climate plays a big role with the how

human variation is shaped. We are also introduced to how Homo sapiens have adapted to certain


We are introduced with the idea that climate plays with a role with human variation when

the article states that homeotherms from colder climates, the limbs are shorter than in equivalent

animals from warmer climates. (James, 2010, p. 31) The length of limbs is associated with the

climate that one is stationed at. As we can see climate isnt the only external factor that plays a

role in human variation but also the environmental temperature plays a big role in the body form

of human.

Our need for adapting to cold climate plays a role with as to how human variation plays

out within us. The human body is of many wonders and we see this through how our body is able

to adapt to cruel climates, such as cold weather. Some human bodies are able to adapt to cold

climates better than others by increasing the insulation of their body core through a generalized

vasoconstriction and by tolerating moderate hypothermia without increasing basal metabolism.

(Frinsacho 1993).

Just like cold climates theres some humans that are able to adapt to high altitude just fine

as opposed to others. This is a trait that favors some more significantly than others. Natural

selection favors one set of crowd more than another and its all due to the environment that they

live in and what they are accustomed. Which is why a group of people who have lived in high

altitude for decades are more favorable to live in high altitude as opposed to someone who has

been living at sea level. Natural selection in this scenario favors those who have lived in high


Although science has its way of interpreting human variation with regards to climate,

culture as well has its way of interpreting human variation through climate. Within my culture,

the Hispanic people, but more specifically the Mexican people also people that climate plays a

role with human variation. Although both science and the Mexican culture believe that human

variation is associated with climate they both have different ideas as to how they are associated

with one another.

The Mexican culture believes that the majority of its people do well in warm climates due

to the color of their skin. The color of their skin being brown allows them to not get burnt as

easily. For example, someone who has brown skin can withstand the heat much better and for a

longer time as opposed to someone who has lighter skin. We being exposed to a warm climate

has allowed our skin to being the brown rich color that it is and because of this color variation

our time exposed to the warm climate isnt as bad as someone who has lighter skin color than

those of the Mexican culture.

Another example as to how my culture sees human variation with regards to climate is

that we believe that the crowd within our culture has oily skin due to the warm climate that we

are in. The oily skin explains why the majority of our people have skin diseases. The Mexican

culture believes that the oily skin diseases comes from the warm climate that we are always

exposed to. This is an unfavorable trait that our population has suffered with. Although it could

be a good trait, it could also be a bad trait. Human variation does not favor the Mexican culture

in this situation. As weve learned theres pros and cons to everything.

Culture and science view climate different with regards to human variation but just

because it is viewed different between the two does not mean that they dont have the same

concept. That concept being trying to explain why the human body is the way it is by viewing the

climate in which the population lives in.

Science and culture are always bumping heads with one another claiming that ones

interpretation is favorable rather than the others. Theres a difference between the two points of

view, but both perform to the best of their ability when trying to explain how human variation

works. Ive brought to your attention and to light the dichotomy between the perspectives of

science and culture upon human variation in their own respectful manner.


Crocetti, D. (2013). Genes and Hormones: What Make Up an Individuals Sex. In M. Ah-King

(Ed.), Challenging Popular Myths of Sex, Gender and Biology (pp. 23-32). Switzerland:

Springer International.

James, G. D. (2010). Climate-Related Morphological Variation and Physiological Adaptations in

Homo sapiens. In C.S. Larsen (Ed.), A Companion to Biological Anthropology (pp. 153-166).

Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.