ANT190-001: Freshman Seminar:Anthropology

Topic: Understanding Human Origins

January 10, 2017 - April 24, 2017
DaysTimeLocationInstructorGERCreditOPUS #
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Anthropology Building 108
Thompson, Jessica
Appropriate for First Year students.

Seminar on various anthropological topics. Satisfies general education Freshman Seminar.

This is an Evidence-Focused Seminar. For more information, see This course deals with scientific questions of what we know about human origins and evolution. It also tackles the issue of how we know what we think we know of our own ancestry over the past 6 million years. In other words, what constitutes evidence for human evolution and how is that evidence interpreted? Students will be introduced to basic milestones in human evolution and how they have shaped us into the species we are today, using diverse lines of evidence from evolutionary and life history theory, geochronology, paleontology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, phylogenetic analysis, genetics, and functional morphology. We will critically examine key debates that have taken place over the last century of exploration in human evolutionary research, learning how unconventional thinking and spectacular discoveries have shaped current knowledge of our origins. You will meet strange and fascinating historical characters, and then meet our fossil ancestors themselves via the cast collection. You will receive hands-on and interactive learning about the morphology, life history patterns, locomotion, social behavior, and diet of our nearest fossil relatives. You will observe living primates at the zoo to assess what they can tell us about our own deep past, and you will dive into your own data collection by locating real archaeological and fossil sites. You will learn how molecular techniques such as ancient DNA have transformed our understanding of the origins of our own species. By formally debating controversial issues with your classmates, you will learn what a surprising amount of information scientists can discern from fragmentary fossils, and be brought up to date with the most current discoveries in human evolution.

The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.