Anthropology | Ancient DNA
B400 | 14135 | Kaestle

General Information: This course explores the exploding field of
ancient DNA research, including an historical perspective on the
development of the science, and a review of the current trends and
exciting new results. The ability to access ancient molecules (not
only DNA but also proteins, lipids, and other interesting molecules)
has opened new doors in our understanding of the prehistory of our
planet. This course will focus on applications within Anthropology,
but will also touch on palaeontological and forensic applications of
this science, and will include discussion of the work currently in
progress in the instructor's Ancient DNA laboratory in the IU
Institute of Molecular Biology. Grades are based on discussion
participation (100 points), written critical commentaries on 5
selected readings (20 points each for a total of 100 points) and a
research paper (100 points). Thus, each component contributes 1/3 to
the grade.. Prerequisites: B200 or equivalent, or permission of the

Grading Information: Discussion participation will contribute 1/3
toward the final grade. Proper seminar discussion participation
involves thoughtful consideration of the readings for each week,
incorporation of relevant information from previous course readings or
other sources, honest comment on both the readings and fellow
students’ observations and interpretations, and the maintenance of
common courtesy. Lack of attendance will affect participation grades.
A mid-term assessment of discussion participation will be available on
the Oncourse gradebook (50 points), and a second end-of-term
assessment will also be posted (50 points).

Five written critical commentaries are due on papers of your choice
throughout the semester (worth 20 points each).  These commentaries
are due at the beginning of class on the day for which the paper was
read, and can be submitted either via Oncourse or in hard copy in
class.  At least two of these commentaries must be submitted by the
midterm. These commentaries must be on original research papers
(‘primary literature’) and will help you prepare to assess literature
for your final research paper.  A standard format, including specific
questions, will be available for download from Oncourse.  Also, please
use the correct citation format in these papers (citation guideline
will be available on Oncourse).

A final research paper is due at the end of the semester.  This paper
should be 7-10 pages long for undergraduates, 15-20 for graduate
students. It is meant to allow the students to explore a topic of
interest in greater depth than was allowed in the course. The research
paper is on a relevant topic of the student’s choice, but the
instructor must approve this topic in advance.  Additional information
on the final research paper will be available on Oncourse.