• Class Number 2000
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Katharine Balolia
    • Dr Katharine Balolia
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course will provide an introduction to the fossil evidence for human evolution in the context of living great apes and modern humans. The course will proceed chronologically from our earliest human ancestors, who originated around 7 million years ago, up until modern humans who inhabit the world today. We will ask the questions of why our ancestors became bipedal, what they ate, how they grew up, and when they left Africa. We will cover topics such as how can we reconstruct behaviour using skeletal evidence and will critically examine how the evolutionary relationships among our extinct hominin relatives can be inferred from the fossil evidence.

Learning Outcomes

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:
  1. Identify important fossils relevant to the study of human evolution;
  2. Understand the principles of biological evolution;
  3. Understand what is meant by the concept of species, and how these may be recognised in the fossil record;
  4. Compare different fossils with one another, and draw phylogenetic inferences;
  5. Understand the principles of geological dating and environmental reconstruction.

Required Resources

Required Textbook: Conroy, G. C., & Pontzer, H. (2012). Reconstructing Human Origins: A Modern Synthesis. 3rd Edition. WW Norton.

Other Useful Textbooks

Fleagle, J. G. (2013). Primate Adaptation and Evolution: 3 rd Edition. Academic Press.

Mayr, E. (2001). What Evolution Is. Basic Books.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written feedback on the final essay
  • Written comment on tests (can be viewed in office hours)
  • Written comments on the tutorial presentations (can be viewed in office hours)
  • All numerical grades will be recorded in the Wattle gradebook

Student Feedback

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Course Introduction and Human Evolution Overview
2 Taxonomy and species concepts; Hominoids and their anatomy
3 Concepts of evolution; Geology and Dating
4 The first putative hominins and The Australopiths (Part 1)
5 The Australopiths (Parts 2 & 3) Assessment 1
6 Early Homo (H. habilis and H. rudofensis)
7 African Homo erectus (H. ergaster) and Homo erectus from China, Indonesia and Europe (Part 1)
8 Homo erectus from China, Indonesia and Europe (Part 2) Assessment 3
9 Homo naledi and Homo floresiensis
10 Mid-Pleistocene Homo and the Neanderthals
11 Anatomically modern humans and recent human evolution
12 Human Evolution Summary Assessment 4

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Essay proposal 10 % 29/03/2019 15/04/2019 2,3,4,5
Tutorial Presentation 10 % 06/03/2019 31/05/2019 1,3,4,5
Take-home test 25 % 01/05/2019 17/05/2019 1,2,3
Final Essay 50 % 29/05/2019 17/05/2019 2,3,4,5
Tutorial participation 5 % 06/03/2019 11/03/2019 1,2,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 29/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 15/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5

Essay proposal

The essay proposal should be 500 words (not including references) and should explain the outline of what the proposed essay will cover. The proposal should include the paper topic as well as what the main focus of the paper will be. It should also include a list of at least 3 academic references that will be used in the paper. You must choose an essay topic which differs to your tutorial presentation.

This assessment is worth 10% of your total mark.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 06/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5

Tutorial Presentation

In the first week of the course, you can sign up for a tutorial presentation. There will be eight topics to choose from and we will cover two associated topics each week. Presentations should be in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and you are welcome to use the hominin cast collection if this will help your presentation.

This assessment is worth 10% of your total mark.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 01/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 17/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Take-home test

The take-home test will consist of several long answer questions and will assess your understanding of lecture material, associated readings and information learned in lab sessions.

This assessment is worth 25% of your total mark.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 29/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 17/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4,5

Final Essay

The final essay should be 2500 words (not including references). You must choose an essay topic which differs to your tutorial presentation.

This assessment is worth 50% of your total mark.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 06/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 11/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Tutorial participation

This is graded based on participation in discussions during class tutorials. Students scoring in the HD range will attend all tutorials and contribute information that is relevant to the tutorial topic and the material being presented in that session.

This assessment is worth 5% of your total mark.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

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.

Late Submission

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.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not permitted

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Katharine Balolia

Research Interests

Dr Katharine Balolia

Monday 14:00 16:00
Monday 14:00 16:00
Dr Katharine Balolia

Research Interests

Dr Katharine Balolia

Monday 14:00 16:00
Monday 14:00 16:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions