• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Biological Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Biological Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Zoology, Biology, Biodiversity Conservation

With the majority of primate species being threatened with habitat change from both anthropogenic and natural causes, there are serious implications for the viability of many species, as well as for the ecosystems which they inhabit. By examining threats to nonhuman primates we will also be looking at threats to these ecosystems in general and investigating options for long term conservation and viability. Some of the threats to be considered are habitat loss (both natural and anthropogenic), hunting of species for human consumption or medicinal use, the pet trade, and disease risk to humans and non-human primates that may result from such practices.
We will investigate issues of primate conservation by first understanding how primate biology and how intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence their vulnerability to threats. We will then look at how they interact with their natural environment and how we can determine population viability using population demographics, life history data and genetic variation. We will then discuss the primary causes of declines in primate populations, including analyses of major threats.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Integrate information learned about primate species biology and ecology with information regarding tropical forest dynamics to think about population viability and conservation in the long term;
  2. Identify key threats to primate species and the ecosystems they inhabit;
  3. Select and combine information from a variety of academic resources to identify the pros and cons of commonly used conservation tactics and to critically evaluate the role of conservation agencies in past and current conservation projects;
  4. Use a case study of the use of local traditions in grassroots conservation initiatives to understand how different cultures view primates and the importance of conserving them and their habitat;
  5. Use historical examples to predict how biodiversity regions may be expected to respond to current habitat changes, both due to natural and anthropogenic phenomenon and to determine which species are more or less vulnerable to these new threats; and
  6. Discuss ideas relevant to course material and ask peers well-thought out questions on relevant to course readings as they relate to case studies presented.

Indicative Assessment

Two midterm examinations, 60 minutes each (10% each for a total of 20%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
Comparative paper, 1500 words (15%) [Learning Outcome 4]
Essay, 3000 words (35%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3]
Tutorial presentation, 40 minutes (15%) [Learning Outcomes 5, 6]
Online discussion, 1500 words (15%) [Learning Outcome 5]

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30 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level Anthropology (ANTH) Biological Anthropology (BIAN), Archaeology (ARCH), Biology (BIOL), Earth and Marine Science (EMSC) or Environment Studies (ENVS) courses, or with permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed BIAN3021.

Prescribed Texts

Cowlishaw G. & Dunbar, R. 2000. Primate Conservation Biology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4026 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person N/A

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