- Class Number 9246
- Term Code 2960
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Dr Anja Deppe
- Dr Geoffrey Kushnick
- Dr Justyna Miszkiewicz
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 22/07/2019
- Class End Date 25/10/2019
- Census Date 31/08/2019
- Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
This course takes an evolutionary approach to understanding human origins and behaviour. The course covers the mechanisms of evolution including concepts related to genetics, speciation, variation, natural selection and adaptation. Particular attention is paid to (a) the study of living non-human primates in the context of human evolution and behaviour, (b) how the fossil record of human relatives over the last 6-7 million years can be used to reconstruct the evolution of human behaviour, and (c) understanding the variation in human skeletal biology and human behaviour using evolutionary principles.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- explain basic principles related to the evolution of humans, including those relating to primatology, palaeoanthropology and human behavioural ecology;
- discuss the idea that evolutionary theory can help explain variation among humans;
- prepare and develop a critical perspective on an independent study topic related to human origins;
- explain a topic or argument relating to human origins and the evolution of human behaviour in a comparative context; and
- interpret material from a range of scholarly sources relevant to a topic or argument in the field, balancing general argument and relevant evidence.
Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8 th Edition. WW Norton.
Hard copies of the textbook will be available on short loan through the ANU Library. The textbook will be available or order from the Harry Hartog campus boostore (this is the most expensive option). Better buy online (amazon etc) or purchase an electronic copy of the textbook using the following link: http://www.wileydirect.com.au/buy/bian1001/
You may also consult the 7th Edition of this textbook for this course
Conroy, G. C., & Pontzer, H. (2012). Reconstructing Human Origins: A Modern Synthesis. 3 rd Edition. WW Norton.
Fleagle, J. G. (2013). Primate Adaptation and Evolution: 3 rd Edition. Academic Press. [Ebook available through ANU Library]
Mayr, E. (2001). What Evolution Is. Basic Books.
White TD, Folkens PA. 2005. The Human Bone Manual. San Diego, CA: Elsevier Academic Press. [Ebook available through ANU Library]
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- Written feedback on the essay proposals and essays
- Written comments on the tutorial presentations (can be viewed in office hours or requested by email)
- All numerical grades will be recorded in the Wattle gradebook
ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
Referencing for all assignments should follow the format of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Course Introduction and Overview of Biological Anthropology This week’s lecture will introduce the course, including tutorial and assessment information. There will be an overview of four key areas of biological anthropology: Primatology, Palaeoanthropology, Human Skeletal Biology and Human Behavioural Ecology. Core Reading There are no textbook readings this week. Please use this time to become familiar with the course syllabus, tutorial readings document and the assessment guidelines and rubrics.|
|2||Natural selection, adaptation and genetics This week’s lecture will cover the topic of natural selection by adaptation, including the principles of competition, variation and heritability. The second half of the lecture will cover the basics of genetics, including the properties of DNA and how genetic differences can result in different phenotypes. Core Readings Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 1: Adaptation by Natural Selection Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 2: Genetics|
|3||The modern synthesis, speciation and phylogeny This week’s lecture will cover the modern synthesis (the unified theory of evolution which combines Darwin’s theory of evolution with Mendelian genetics), and following from content covered in Week 2, the concepts of population genetics and evolution will be covered in more depth. In the second half of the lecture, we will discuss content relating to species concepts and speciation, taxonomy and phylogenetics. Core Readings Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 3: The Modern Synthesis Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 4: Speciation and Phylogeny|
|4||Understanding the primate pattern and the diversity with the primate order This week’s lecture will introduce the subject of primatology, including the definition of the primate order, and the distribution and diversity of primates. In this lecture, differences between different primate groups will be distinguished and aspects of their ecology will be discussed. Core Reading Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 5: Primate Diversity and Ecology|
|5||Primate sociality This week’s lecture will cover aspects of primate social behaviour, including primate mating systems, factors influencing reproductive success, and male and female reproductive strategies. In the second half of the lecture, the topic of primate life history will be covered in the context of fertility, brain size and intelligence. Core Readings Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 6: Primate Mating Systems Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 8: Primate Life Histories and the Evolution of Intelligence||Essay proposal 1|
|6||The primate fossil record and the earliest hominins This week’s lecture will introduce the subjects of palaeoanthropology and palaeoprimatology. It will consider the fossil evidence for primate evolution in the context of geology, continental drift and climate change and we will discuss the evolution of the earliest primates and the emergence of apes during the Miocene. In the second part of the lecture we will talk about the earliest members of the human lineage, discuss the emergence of bipedalism and consider the challenges involved in reconstructing the evolutionary relationships of extinct members of the human family tree. Core Readings Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 9: From Tree Shrew to Ape Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 10: The Earliest Hominins|
|7||The Australopiths, Homo and the evolution of modern human behaviour This week’s lecture will cover the anatomy of the Australopiths, who are widely considered as the first hominins to be obligate bipeds. We will spend the rest of the lecture discussing the genus Homo, examining aspects of their morphology, diet and life history. We will talk about the first stone tools in the context of foraging techniques and will end the lecture by discussing modern human migration out of Africa and the evolution of modern human behaviour. Core Readings Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 11: Early Homo and H. erectus (2.6 – 1 Ma) Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 12: The Neanderthals and Their Contemporaries Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 13: Homo sapiens and the Evolution of Modern Human Behaviour||Essay 1|
|8||The human skeleton in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology This week’s lecture will introduce the subject of human skeletal biology in the context of the sub-disciplines of bioarchaeology (which concerns the assessment of biological remains from archaeological sites), and forensic anthropology (which concerns the identification of human remains). This lecture will also consider the ethics of research using human skeletal remains. Core Reading White T.D. and Folkens P.A. (2005). The Human Bone Manual. Chapter 1: Introduction De Witte SN. 2015. Bioarchaeology and the ethics of research using human skeletal remains. History Compass 13: 10-19.|
|9||The human skeleton in palaeopathology This week’s lecture will examine the factors that may cause variation the human skeleton. It will focus on aspects of gross and molecular anatomy and will consider the palaeopathological causes of variation in the human skeleton. Core Reading White T.D. and Folkens P.A. (2005). The Human Bone Manual. Chapters 4.1 - 4.6: Bone biology and variation.||Essay proposal 2|
|10||Evolution of Human Biological Diversity This week’s lecture will introduce the subject of human behavioural ecology. It will cover topics relating to human genetic variation, building on information covered in the first few weeks of the course. It will discuss the concept of genetic drift and how this can influence modern human variation. The last part of the lecture will discuss the concept of race. Core Reading Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 14: Human Genetics and Variation|
|11||Evolution of Human Behaviour and Culture This week’s lecture will cover content to explore why and how evolution is relevant to understanding human behaviour. It will cover topics relating to male and female mate preferences and their social consequences. The second part of the lecture will discuss human cultural adaptations, learning and co-operation, and human uniqueness. Core Readings Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8th Edition. Chapter 15: Evolution and Human Behaviour Boyd, R. and Silk, J.B. (2018). How Humans Evolved. 8 th Edition. Chapter 16: Culture, Cooperation, and Human Uniqueness|
|12||Synthesis of Biological Anthropology Core Reading Stock, J.T. (2008). Are humans still evolving? EMBO reports 9: S51-S54.||Essay 2|
Sign up on Wattle
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Tutorial presentation||10 %||30/10/2019||10/11/2019||1,2,3,4,5|
|Essay proposals (x2)||10 %||01/10/2019||20/10/2019||3,4,5|
|Essays (x2)||50 %||22/10/2019||19/11/2019||1,2,3,4,5|
|Final Examination||30 %||16/11/2019||05/12/2019||1,2,3,4,5|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
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Moderation of Assessment
Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
You can sign up for a tutorial presentation in Tutorial 1, which will be held in Week 1. There will be 10 topics to choose from and two sub-topics will be covered each week. You should deliver your presentation using PowerPoint, or similar software.
Value: Your tutorial presentation is worth 10% of your final grade
Presentation requirements: You should give a 15 minute presentation based on the reading(s) outlined in the tutorial document.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5
Essay proposals (x2)
You should submit two essay proposals on two different topics (i.e. you cannot choose two topics within one subject area) and you must choose essay topics which differ from your tutorial presentation topic. A list of essay titles will be provided in a separate document in Week 1. Please submit your essay proposals through Wattle. No hard copy submission is required.
Word limit: 250 words for each essay proposal (not including references)
Value: Each essay proposal is worth 5% of your final grade (10% in total)
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
You should submit two essays which follow on from your essay proposal, instructions for which are outlined in ‘Assessment Task 2’ above. Please submit your essays through Wattle. No hard copy submission is required.
Word limit: 1500 words for each essay (not including references)
Value: Each essay is worth 25% of your final grade (50% in total)
Hurdle Assessment: You must achieve a passing grade for both essays to pass the course
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5
There will be a final examination for this course, where you will be tested on the lecture content and information from the course readings (detailed on p.7-10 of this document). The final exam will be scheduled for during the end-of-semester examination period. Confirmed details of where and when the exam will be held will be available later in the semester.
Value: The final examination is worth 30% of your final grade
Hurdle Assessment: You must achieve a passing grade on the final exam to pass the course.
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For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
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- Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
- Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.
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Feedback for essay proposals and essays will be provided through Wattle once these assignments have been graded. Grades for your tutorial presentations will be provided on Wattle and feedback will be provided during office hours, where students can discuss grades with the lecturer or tutor. You can also make an appointment to review this material outside office hours.
Extensions and Penalties
Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.
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Resubmission of assignments is not permitted.
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Primate behavior, ecology, evolution and cognition
Dr Anja Deppe
Dr Geoffrey Kushnick