- Code BIAN8011
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
- ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
- Course subject Biological Anthropology
- Areas of interest Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Zoology, Evolution and Ecology, Biology
- Academic career PGRD
- Dr Katharine Balolia
- Mode of delivery In Person
First Semester 2020
See Future Offerings
This course will provide a detailed look at the fossil record of extinct hominids (i.e. the ancestors of living humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans) in the context of the behaviour and morphology of humans and great apes living today. In the first part of the course we will review the hominid fossil record and will cover some of the key theoretical concepts relevant to understanding the biology of these extinct species. We will then turn our attention to sexual dimorphism and size variation in our fossil ancestors and ask questions about whether we can reliably reconstruct aspects of their social behaviour. We will then cover further isolated topics in depth such as diet, locomotion, tool use and cognition and will consider what genetic evidence can tell us about the behaviour of our more recent hominin relatives.
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 and recognise the key morphological features of the major extinct hominid fossil groups.
2. Explain the principles of palaeobiology and how different lines of anatomical evidence can be used to make inferences about the behaviour of extinct species
3. Critically assess the utility and limitations of the fossil record in making behavioural inferences.
4. Evaluate the concept of sexual dimorphism and explain how observed morphological sex differences can be used to reconstruct aspects of extinct hominid social behaviour.
5. Assess how genetic evidence can complement fossil and archaeological evidence in reconstructing the behaviour and dispersal patterns of our recent hominin ancestors.
Other InformationAlthough there are no prerequisites to enroll on this course, students will ideally have some prior knowledge of the hominin fossil record and/or the basics of human evolution.
Indicative AssessmentOne page problem statement and annotated bibliography relevant to proposed essay, 1500 words (15%) [Learning Outcomes 2-5]
A major essay, 3500 words (50%) [Learning Outcomes 2-5]
One take-home exam, 1000 words (20%) [Learning Outcomes 1-3]
One tutorial presentation, 30 minutes (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1-3]
Tutorial participation (5%) [Learning Outcomes 1-5]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 18 hours of lectures (1.5 hours lectures per week) and 18 hours of tutorials, labs and online activities (1.5 hours of tutorials, labs or online learning per week).
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing
Preliminary ReadingConroy, G. C., & Pontzer, H. (2012). Reconstructing Human Origins: A Modern Synthesis. 3rd Edition. WW Norton. Chapters 5-13.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|4018||24 Feb 2020||02 Mar 2020||08 May 2020||05 Jun 2020||In Person||N/A|