Human Origins and Variation [CRN 27333]

Discipline: Anthropology
Instructor: Magennis
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 16:40
End: 18:00
Field Work: Day 1 | April 11, 2017 | Morocco
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This survey course is designed to introduce you to the methods, key concepts, data, and theory employed by anthropologists as they explore the following questions:  1) what is the range of human physical variation across all time and space? 2) why is there this range of variation? and 3) how can this study of the variable human condition help us better deal with our social and physical world? The course is designed in four parts: 1) Modern Evolutionary Theory– history, scholars, theories, mechanisms & definitions; 2) The Order Primates – classification & adaptations; 3) Human Paleontology – fossil record and origins, classification and adaptations; 4) Modern Human Biology – biological variation & adaptations.

Field Work

Country: Morocco
Day: 1
Date: April 11, 2017

For the field class we will visit one or two paleoanthropology sites near Casablanca. At the sites we will be able to see fossils and tools of human ancestors, specifically Homo erectus. At the site of Thomas Quarry it will be possible to see stratigraphy and the way in which remains have been preserved for half a million to a million years. We will also be able to see stone tools that Homo erectus used as well as skeletal remains of animals that were living in the area at the same time. This field trip will provide the opportunity to tie together things that were learned in the classroom along with first-hand experience with the data paleoanthropologists have to work with to recreate the environment and test hypotheses about the ways in which our hominin ancestors lived.

Learning Objectives:
1. Observe an archaeological site associated with fossil remains of Homo erectus
2. Determine the way in which paleontological field work is conducted
3. Construct hypotheses that can be tested regarding Homo erectus and the environment in which hominin ancestors lived