Anthropology studies humans from a holistic perspective by investigating both human biological and cultural adaptation. Anthropology starts with prehistoric human origins and continues through the contemporary world. The discipline is made up of four subfields: biological anthropology which explores human biological adaptation, origins, genetics and evolution; cultural anthropology which investigates contemporary societies and their systems of meaning, belief, social and political organization, economies and achievements; linguistic anthropology which focuses on the important role human language plays in culture; and archaeology which provides research techniques for reconstructing the past from fossils, stones, and bones.
Anthropology is comparative and holistic in its approach, seeking to understand universals in the human experience from a broad and unbiased perspective. As well, it is also interested in learning the unique views of local cultures and their systems of ideas, practices, and artifacts in context so as not to distort, but rather to explore how others see the world in very different ways. Scientific method is the cornerstone of anthropological research which employs both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Anthropologists do fieldwork to gain firsthand experience and obtain original data.