• Class Number 5926
  • Term Code 3260
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Katharine Balolia
    • AsPr Alison Behie
    • Dr Geoff Kushnick
    • Dr Katharine Balolia
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/07/2022
  • Class End Date 28/10/2022
  • Census Date 31/08/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/08/2022
SELT Survey Results

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.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. explain basic principles related to the evolution of humans, including those relating to primatology, palaeoanthropology and human behavioural ecology;
  2. discuss the idea that evolutionary theory can help explain variation among humans;
  3. prepare and develop a critical perspective on an independent study topic related to human origins;
  4. explain a topic or argument relating to human origins and the evolution of human behaviour in a comparative context; and
  5. interpret material from a range of scholarly sources relevant to a topic or argument in the field, balancing general argument and relevant evidence.

Required Resources

Explorations: An Open Invitation for Biological Anthropology. (2019). Editors: Beth Shook, Katie Nelson, Kelsie Aguilera and Lara Braff, American Anthropological Association, Arlington, VA. ISBN – 978-1-931303-63-7. Open Access



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]

Staff Feedback

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

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.

Other Information

Referencing for all assignments should follow the format of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture 1: Course Introduction and Overview of Biological Anthropology; Primatology 1
2 Lecture 2: Primatology 2
3 Lecture 3: Primatology 3
4 Lecture 4: Primate Evolutionary Biology/Palaeoanthropology 1 Tutorial Worksheet 1
5 Lecture 5: Primate Evolutionary Biology/Palaeoanthropology 2
6 Lecture 6: Primate Evolutionary Biology/Palaeoanthropology 3 Essay 1;
7 Lecture 7: Human Skeletal Biology 1 Online Test 1
8 Lecture 8: Human Skeletal Biology 2
9 Lecture 9: Human Skeletal Biology 3 Tutorial Worksheet 3
10 Lecture 10: Human Behavioural Ecology/Human Adaptation 1
11 Lecture 11: Human Behavioural Ecology/Human Adaptation 2
12 Lecture 12: Human Behavioural Ecology/Human Adaptation 3; Synthesis of Biological Anthropology Essay 2
13 No lecture Online Test 2; Tutorial Worksheet 4
66 Mid-semester break Tutorial Worksheet 2

Tutorial Registration

through my timetable

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Essay 1 30 % 01/09/2022 3,5
Online test 1 15 % 19/09/2022 1,2
Essay 2 30 % 27/10/2022 3,5
Online test 2 15 % 31/10/2022 1,2
Tutorial worksheets 10 % * 1,4

* 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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: 30 %
Due Date: 01/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 3,5

Essay 1

For Essay 1, you should choose an essay topic from the ‘Primatology and Primate Evolutionary Biology/Palaeoanthropology’ list. This essay is due on Thursday 1st September at 4pm. Please submit your essay through Wattle. No hard copy submission is required. 

Word limit: 1500 words for each essay (not including references)

Value: Each essay is worth 30% of your final grade

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 19/09/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Online test 1

Online test 1 will be held at 10am on Monday 19th September. The test will consist of multiple-choice and/or short answer questions and you will be assessed on lecture content and associated readings. 


Value: This test is worth 15% of your final grade.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 27/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 3,5

Essay 2

For Essay 2, you should choose an essay topic from the ‘Human Skeletal Biology and Human Behavioural Ecology/Human Adaptation’ list. This essay is due on Thursday 27th October at 4pm. Please submit your essay through Wattle. No hard copy submission is required. 

Word limit: 1500 words for each essay (not including references)

Value: Each essay is worth 30% of your final grade

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 31/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Online test 2

Online test 2 will be held at 10am on Monday 31st October. The test will consist of multiple-choice and/or short answer questions and you will be assessed on lecture content and associated readings. 


Value: This test is worth 15% of your final grade.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Tutorial worksheets

Throughout the course, you will be assessed on your tutorial and lab participation through completion of tutorial worksheets. There will be four worksheets to complete, worth 2.5% each, one for each of the four subdisciplines (Primatology, Palaeoanthropology, Human Skeletal Biology, Human Behavioural Ecology). These worksheets are due on 4pm on Wednesday 17th August, Wednesday 7th September, Wednesday 12th October and Wednesday 2nd November. Further details of how to complete these worksheets will be provided by each convenor as the course progresses.

Value: Your tutorial worksheets are worth 10% of your final grade

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • 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.

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.

Returning Assignments

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. Extensions may be granted 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
6125 9298

Research Interests

Dr Katharine Balolia

By Appointment
By Appointment
AsPr Alison Behie
6125 3662
alison behie@anu.edu.au

Research Interests

AsPr Alison Behie

By Appointment
Dr Geoff Kushnick
6125 5331

Research Interests

Dr Geoff Kushnick

By Appointment
Dr Katharine Balolia
6125 9298

Research Interests

Dr Katharine Balolia

By Appointment
By Appointment

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