HONORS 232 - Honors Core in Natural Science
Section: 001 Your Inner Ape
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Honors Program (HONORS)
Department: LSA Honors
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
BS, NS
Other:
Honors
BS:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
Repeatability:
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Some seven million years ago, one lineage of African apes took a divergent path that led to the evolution of humans. But just how different are we from other apes? This class examines the behavioral, anatomical and genetic similarities and differences between humans and our closest relatives, the apes, in order to explore the boundaries of human uniqueness. The course will be divided into four sections, each of which will incorporate hands-on classroom exercises exposing students to the techniques used by evolutionary anthropologists and biologists to understand human evolution from a comparative perspective.

The first unit of the course will review the basic biology and geographic distribution of living apes, and introduce the techniques used to understand evolutionary processes. Some of the questions to be addressed include:

  • Who are the living apes, and where do they live?
  • What distinguishes apes from other primates and other mammals?
  • What is the comparative method?
  • How can we study “unique” traits, such as language, that only occur in one living species?

The second part of the class will be devoted to investigating the similarities and differences between humans and apes in terms of behavior. Some of the questions to be addressed include:

  • How do apes mate and raise their offspring, and how do these strategies compare to those of humans?
  • Do apes have morality?
  • What is the theory of mind, and how is it linked to cognition?
  • How do ape and human communication compare? Do apes use language?

The third unit will use the comparative method and the fossil record to reconstruct how distinctive human anatomical and physiological complexes evolved. Some of the questions to be addressed include:

  • What do apes eat, and how are ape diets relevant for understanding the evolution of human diets?
  • How and why did bipedalism evolve?
  • What aspects of the hand and forearm make tool use possible?
  • How do human brains compare to ape brains, and can these differences explain cognitive differences?

The course will conclude by exploring how both genes and environment play a role in explaining human uniqueness. Some of the questions to be addressed include:

  • How can genetic data be used to answer questions about our present and our past, and what genes are distinct to humans?
  • Why is human genetic variation reduced compared to apes?
  • How have environmental changes influenced the divergence of humans?
  • How does environment affect ape and human development?

Course Requirements:

Three midterms, a final exam, and weekly hands-on section activities

Intended Audience:

First and second year students in LSA Honors Program

Class Format:

Lectures plus one discussion/lab meeting per week

HONORS 232 - Honors Core in Natural Science
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 
24715
Open
27
 
-
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Note: Students are auto-enrolled in lecture 001 when they elect one of discussions 002-005.
002 (DIS)
P
24723
Open
7
10LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
Tu 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Note: Students are auto-enrolled in lecture 001 when they elect one of discussions 002-005.
003 (DIS)
P
24724
Open
6
9LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
Tu 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: Students are auto-enrolled in lecture 001 when they elect one of discussions 002-005.
004 (DIS)
P
24725
Open
9
10LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
Th 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Students are auto-enrolled in lecture 001 when they elect one of discussions 002-005.
005 (DIS)
P
24726
Open
5
8LSA HONORS Y1 AND Y2
-
F 1:00PM - 2:00PM
Note: Students are auto-enrolled in lecture 001 when they elect one of discussions 002-005.
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.


ISBN: 9780674967953
Chimpanzees and Human Evolution, Author: Martin Muller, Publisher: Belknap 2017
Required
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