Anthropology | HUMAN ORIGINS AND PREHISTORY
A105 | 9543 | Munson


MEETS 2ND 8 WEEKS

The focus of the course is the biological and cultural evolution of the
human species.  The first half of the course will examine a variety of
"background" issues such as the history of evolutionary thought, modern
evolutionary theory, techniques for dating the past, the nature of the
fossil and archaeological record, the biological relationships of humans
to our closest relatives, and the fossil record of those forms ancestral
or closely related to the earliest humans.

The second half of the course will begin with the appearance in the fossil
record, about 5 million years ago in eastern and southern Africa, of the
Australopithecines, a "proto-human" form that is clearly ancestral to our
species, and the appearance "shortly" thereafter (about 2.5 million
years ago) in this area of the first definite evidence of cultural (as
opposed to purely biological) behavior.  With the appearance of purposely
made stone tools at this time our concern broadens to include both
biological and cultural evolution (and the interaction of the two), as
early humans expanded out of their original homeland and adapted to
diverse environmental situations using an increasingly complex array of
cultural mechanisms.

Requirements

Grading for the course will be based on two exams, both objective in
nature (mostly or entirely multiple choice)--a mid-term and a
non-cumulative final that covers only the 2nd half of the course. Each
exam will count for one-half of the course grade.