This course is an introduction to biological anthropology with an emphasis on the key concepts and findings of human evolutionary biology. The course will cover the principles of evolution and genetics, human osteology, primate evolutionary history, primate behavior, the human fossil record, and modern human variation.
Students will be able to identify the genetic factors that impact the evolutionary process, correctly categorize primates based on anatomy, and summarize how the theory of evolution applies to humans. Students will understand why humans are primates and understand the general trajectory of human evolution. We will use Punnett squares to demonstrate the basic rules of genetic inheritance and the Hardy-Weinberg equation to show how we can use math to determine whether evolution has occurred. To study primate anatomy and behavior, we will watch short documentaries and visit the Duke Lemur Center. To explore the general trajectory of human evolution, we will examine the fossil skulls (casts) of our evolutionary ancestors.