College of Arts and Sciences | Sister Species
E105 | 13790 | Hunt

COLL-E 105 13790 Sister Species (Hunt K) (N & M) (3 cr.)
9:30AM - 10:45AM TR

Sister Species: Lessons from the Chimpanzee is a broad survey of the
natural sciences as they apply to our closest living relative, the
chimpanzee.  In the course of examining what we know about chimpanzees
in the areas of social behavior, ecology, morphology, physiology,
"language," intelligence, genetics and systematics, we will gain a
deeper understanding of the breadth of contemporary science.  A review
of chimpanzee studies will illustrate how the scientific method helps
us understand nature.  Chimpanzees are a particularly informative
species to anthropologists because they are far enough removed from
humans that we can examine them more objectively than we can examine
ourselves, yet they are similar enough to us that the insights we
obtain by studying them help us to understand ourselves. Through
films, labs and writing assignments we will get an intimate look at
every aspect of chimpanzees.  Among our interests will be: why do
animals use -- or not use-- tools?  When are animals aggressive?  How
is chimp anatomy designed to solve food-getting problems?  How does
physiology influence what chimps can eat -- and what's healthy to eat?
Can chimps use language?  What does the recently discovered
chimpanzee use of medicine mean for us?  Just how different are
chimpanzee bones, muscles and brains from our own?  These and other
questions will be answered in lectures, films and a series of labs.
Students will be encouraged to eat a chimp diet for a day and to write
about their cravings and the meaning of them.  Students will keep a
diary of their communication patterns and comment on the uses and
meaning of language.  The similarity of human and chimp disease will
be investigated, allowing participants to see just how harrowing life
can be in a doctor-less chimp world.  Chimpanzees will lead us to a
better understanding of all of nature -- and of ourselves.