Anthropology | Intro to Evolution of the Brain
A205 | 30303 | Schoenemann
An introduction to the study of the evolution of the brain, with a
focus on the human species. Students will review basic concepts in
evolutionary biology that form the basis for an evolutionary approach.
The direct fossil evidence of vertebrate brain evolution will then be
reviewed, and comparative (cross-species) perspectives on neuroanatomy
and behavior will be emphasized. An analysis of the specific changes
in the brain during human evolution will then be covered. We will
consider possible sources of evidence relevant to brain evolution as
well, such as the archaeological record of human behavioral evolution.
Current controversies and theories about the causes and consequences
of hominid brain evolution will be reviewed, including the possible
role of language, tool use, sociality, dietary shifts, and other
behavioral adaptations. In addition, sex differences in brain and
behavior will be discussed, as well as philosophical questions
surrounding the problems of consciousness, mind and brain. A
consideration will also be given to the possible origins of human
ethics and morals.