Anthrbio 201 Introduction to Biological Anthropology (fall semester) (4 credits)
This course examines the processes that have shaped human evolution. The structure of the course can be divided into four units. The first unit covers the basic principles of evolutionary biology, and includes overviews of adaptation, natural selection and genetics. The second unit focuses on the ecology and behavior of nonhuman primates, and considers how a comparative approach may help us to understand human evolution. Unit three pays particular attention to the fossil record, and how the study of human paleontology and prehistory informs our understanding of modern humans. Finally, in unit four, we focus on humans in modern contexts and consider the biological bases of some aspects of human variability. The class combines 3 hours lecture/week with 1 hour of section. Lectures are slide-based presentations with occasional videos. Sections include discussion and hands-on exercises (using fossil casts, etc). Students are evaluated with exams based on lecture material, by quizzes in section, and by a final exam due at the end of the semester. There is one required text and several reserve readings. No prerequisites are necessary. This class fulfills the NS (natural science) distribution requirement for LSA.
Anthrbio 366 Human Evolutionary Anatomy (winter semester) (4 credits)
This course introduces students to the evolutionary history of humans, through the study of comparative human anatomy. The focus will be on the musculoskeletal anatomy of humans and their closest living and fossil relatives. Included in the course will be the reconstruction of the dietary, locomotor and social behavior of extinct hominins, such as Ardipithecus, Australopithecus and earlier forms of Homo. The class will make use of the skeletal and cast collections housed in the Anthropology Department. The class combines 3 hours lecture/week with 2 hours of lab work. Lab assignment questions will require you to draw upon reserve and text readings and lecture material. Students are evaluated with exams based on lecture material, by lab reports, and by a final exam at the end of the semester. No prerequisites are necessary. This class fulfills the NS (natural science) distribution requirement for LSA.
Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate Courses:
Anthrbio 465 Primate Functional Anatomy (fall semester) (3 credits)
This 3-hour hands-on lab course is intended to introduce students to the evolutionary history of the primate radiation, particularly the evolution of monkeys, apes and humans, through an analysis of primate anatomy. The focus will be on the musculoskeletal anatomy of extant and fossil primates and reconstruction of the behavior of extinct forms. There are two practical exams. Six written reports will be due over the course of the semester, based on exercises performed in lab. It is assumed that students already have a basic knowledge of primate taxonomy and ecology. Anthrbio 201, 365, 366 OR 368 are recommended prerequisites, although students with a background in osteology, vertebrate zoology and/or mammalogy may also enroll.
Anthrbio 479 Hominoid Evolution (fall or winter semester) (4 credits)
Hominoid Evolution is an in-depth look at the origins and diversification of the Hominoidea, the superfamily of primates that includes apes and humans. The first third of the course consists of 1) an examination of the theory and techniques used to interpret the fossil record, 2) a consideration of how molecular studies have informed the study of hominoid evolution and 3) an overview of the biology of living hominoids. During the remainder of the course, we will explore the fossil record itself, covering the origin of primates and anthropoids, the evolution of apes during the Miocene and the origin and diversification within the ape clade of the hominins. The class combines 3 hours lecture/week with 2 hours of lab work. Students are evaluated with exams based on lecture material, by lab reports, and by a final exam at the end of the semester. Anthrbio 201, 365, 366 OR 368 are recommended prerequisites, although students with a background in osteology, vertebrate zoology and/or mammalogy may also enroll.
Anthrbio 471 Research in Biological Anthropology (fall and winter semester) (1-4 credits)
This course provides technical training in how to carry out research in primate and human evolution using fossil data. The course emphasizes project development, hypothesis generation and testing, data collection and analysis using the comparative method, and writing. Students will learn techniques for the reconstruction of behaviour, environment and relationships of primate taxa. Students are expected to carry out a project involving analysis of primary data for a senior honors thesis or collaborative publication.
Anthrbio 570 Overview of Biological Anthropology (winter semester) (3 credits)
How did humans become socially complex, long-lived, cultured, speaking primates that share food, use tools and walk on two legs? This course will provide a survey of current research in biological anthropology, which as a discipline attempts to gain insight into these transformations. We will use evolutionary theory and the scientific method to investigate topics in (1) human evolution and genetics, (2) paleoanthropology, (3) human and primate behavioral ecology and (4) modern human adaptation. The class consists of one 3-hour seminar each week. combines 3 hours lecture/week. Students are evaluated based on leadership of discussions, general participation, short weekly assignments and a final term. Graduate standing is required.