SyllAnth5Fall09final - Syllabus Introduction to Physical...

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Syllabus: Introduction to Physical Anthropology Anthropology 005 Fall Quarter 2009 Instructor Information: Instructor: Prof. Steven Gaulin Office: 1016 HSSB Office Phone: 893-7402 Email: [email protected] Office hours : Thurs 12:45-2:15, or by appointment TA contact information is in a separate file. Course Purpose and Goals: Anthropology 005, Introduction to Physical Anthropology, is a natural science course designed to expose students to scientific ways of answering questions about human origins and human biology. It is explicitly evolutionary in its approach because evolution provides the central organizing principle of all the life sciences. We want to know what we can learn about ourselves by approaching the study of human traits the way a biologist would. Our goal is to demystify ourselves by viewing humans in a broad biological framework. This course and the associated lectures, readings, and sections address the following questions: What processes shape humans (and other creatures) over evolutionary time? What are genes; why do we have the ones we do; and how do they interact with our experiences in shaping us? What can we learn about ourselves and our evolution from studies of our close relatives among the non- human primates? How much is known about our ancestry and what does that tell us about human nature? To what extent has evolution built different biologies in women and men. What are the implications of this evolutionary perspective for understanding contemporary human variation and behavior?
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We will build our understanding progressively by working toward a series of goals . By the end of the course, you should be able to think like a natural scientist to: 1) Combine Darwinian natural selection with basic genetics to generate an evolutionary model of organisms as gene replicators. 2) Apply evolutionary theory to render functional explanations of various features of human biology. 3) Articulate the fallacies inherent in the “blank-slate” view of human nature. 4) Explain why males and females are often so different, and predict how and to what extent the sexes will differ. 5) Evaluate how well (or poorly) humans fit the predictions of the various evolutionary models developed in the course. 6) Use data from contemporary non-human primates and the fossil record to
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2009 for the course ANTH 5 taught by Professor Gaulin during the Fall '07 term at UCSB.

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SyllAnth5Fall09final - Syllabus Introduction to Physical...

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