ANTHROPOLOGY 1301 ARCHEOLOGY Fall 2021 (Tu Th 9:00-10:20) Carmichael INTRO TO PHYSICAL ANTH & Dr. COURSE SYLLABUS Overview Is warfare a uniquely human behavior? Is it an inevitable human behavior? Do you know how many human races there are? What do IQ tests measure? Have you ever wondered how evolution can be both a fact and a theory? Are humans really descended from monkeys? Are you related to the Neanderthals? Do you know what the most important human invention of all time was? What makes the New World new? This semester we will engage in lively considerations of these and other big questions about who we are as a species, how we got to where we are today, and what the answers mean for our relationship to the rest of the world. The course is designed to provide an introduction to current scientific understandings of the origin and diversity of humans as revealed by research in paleoanthropology, primatology, archaeology and ethnology. Topics will include the fossil and genetic evidence for human biological evolution, and evidence for the most important cultural evolutionary changes reflected in the archaeological record. The level of instruction assumes no prior experience in anthropology or archaeology. Learning Objectives The course is intended to address four primary goals: 1) Students should understand and be able to articulate how scientists know things about our world. More specifically, you should understand how it is possible to know things about the ancient past… what types of evidence are available, and what forms of reasoning are used to make sense of the evidence. Understanding the relationship between explanations and supporting evidence is central to your success in this course. 2) Students should develop a familiarity with the evidence for biological and cultural change; that is, evolution. What characteristics of the fossils, artifacts, DNA, etc. provide the evidence for change? 3) Students should be able to discuss why things happened as they did. Why was agriculture invented when and where it was? Why was bipedal locomotion advantageous to the hominins? How do we know our closest relatives in the animal kingdom are the apes? 4) You should be able to view and discuss the challenges currently facing our species in the context of the long-term patterns of human development and change. Major Themes & Perspectives Anthropology is a very broad discipline, and the topics studied by anthropologists bear on literally every aspect of human existence. Even this course, with its focus on the prehistoric 1 past, is more relevant to our present circumstances than one might first imagine. I will sometimes bring materials or perspectives into a discussion that deal with contemporary topics such as religion, politics and the environment. When I address such topics, it will be in the context of the main organizing themes of this course. In other words, they will be relevant to the information in your text, in my lectures, the videos, or our class discussions. So, if you ever find yourself wondering why a piece of information is being presented, why I’m requiring you to read about some nearly extinct hunter-gatherer tribe or listen to chimpanzees howl, ask yourself how the information relates to the major themes. All the material presented in the course relates in some way to one or more of these four major themes: 1) Evolution is a fact. People who doubt this statement often don’t have a clear idea about what evolution really is, or they have been exposed to inaccurate information about it, so let’s deal with that right up front. Evolution does NOT mean that we are descended from monkeys or chimpanzees. No living species can be descended from another contemporary species. Nor does it mean that we can choose to evolve as individuals during our lifetimes; individual organisms do not evolve. Rather, biological evolution is change in populations of organisms from one generation to later generations. Darwin referred to it as descent with modification; a more modern definition would be change in gene frequency over time. The fact of change is not in dispute. Evolution can be observed in the laboratory and in the wild, even within a single human lifetime. The reason we have not yet cured AIDS is that the virus has evolved, and it continues to change as we develop new drugs. Some antibiotics that used to be effective in treating bacterial infections no longer work because the bacteria have evolved. Change in gene frequ

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