ANTHRBIO 166 - First Year Seminar: Searching for Human Origins
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Anthropology, Biological (ANTHRBIO)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Understanding our origin has long been an agenda of philosophers, theologians, anatomists, and naturalists, and early theories generated were rooted primarily in conceptual frameworks. Speculation was the dominant theme of these narratives. The discovery and systematic study of human fossils is a recent phenomenon and the wealth of fossil data that has been collected, especially during the last 40 years has revolutionized our perspectives of our origins and the processes involved in the evolution of the human lineage. While major questions have been answered, many still remain, and contemporary scientific explanations continue to be influenced by preconceptions and traditional views.

In this course, we will examine how the fossil record has reshaped our understanding of our evolution during the last 6 million years, philosophical, theoretical and analytical dimensions of these scientific inquiries, and major controversies which have been played out in interpretations of the data collected primarily from the East and South African fossil records.

This course

  • Combines reading material and discussions that traverse many disciplines within the natural sciences.
  • Provides a comprehensive introductory examination of eclectic topics that relate to biological anthropology, psychology, evolutionary theory, and paleontology utilizing a rigorous scientific approach.
  • emphasizes critical evaluation of observations, experiments, formation of testable hypotheses about natural phenomena related to human origins, and testing of those hypotheses.
  • Focus on assessments of the fossil record utilizing inferences based on detailed analysis of modern human (and non-human primate) physiology, cognition, and morphology.

Course Requirements:

  • Students will read approximately 6-7 popular scientific books during the semester
  • Each week the students will submit 3 substantial questions on the weeks readings
  • Ten (2-3 page) synopses based on the books/class discussions
  • One (6-10 page) research paper due at the end of the semester
  • Leading one class discussion
  • Completion of two (in class) lab exercises
  • Contributing to weekly seminar discussions

Intended Audience:

First year students.

Class Format:

Twice weekly meetings for 1.5 hours in seminar format.

ANTHRBIO 166 - First Year Seminar: Searching for Human Origins
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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