Anthropological Sciences 302

ANSC 302: Principles of Biological Anthropology

Prerequisites: ANSC 101 or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (4) Three hours lecture; three hours laboratory

This course is an overview of biological anthropology. Biological anthropology studies the adaptations, variability, and evolution of human beings and their living and fossil relatives. Topics to be covered include basic genetics and heredity, primate behavior and taxonomy, human osteology, human evolution, human variation and adaptation, bioarchaeology, and forensic anthropology. The laboratory component provides students with hands-on experience with this material.

Note(s): Students cannot receive credit for both ANTH 120 and ANSC 302.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

The major areas of biological anthropology covered in this course include the following:

a.     History of Evolutionary Thought
b.     Human Genetics (Cellular, Mendelian, Population)
c.    Principles and Forces of Evolution
d.    Human Variability and Adaptation
e.    Bioarchaeology and  Forensics
f.    Primate Taxonomy, Behavior, Paleontology
g.    Fossil Hominids (early fossil hominids including Sahlenthropus, Orrorin  and the Australopithecines,  early Genus Homo, Archaic Homo sapiens including Neandertals, and Anatomically modern Homo sapiens)

The laboratory component of the course will provide training and experience in the following areas:
a.    Population Genetics including selection problem sets
b.    Human variation including anthropometry (measurement)
c.    Human Osteology
d.    Methods in skeletal biology including bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology
e.    Primate anatomy lab
f.    Primate behavior lab and films
g.    Fossil Hominid labs- including examination of fossil hominid casts

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course is taught through the use of slide-illustrated lectures, films, and hands on experience, using information from the text as well as the instructor’s own experience.  Additionally, the students will read and discuss primary research articles, and current examples of biological anthropology in the news.

The laboratory component of the class will be conducted in a variety of ways throughout the semester. Some laboratory sessions will focus on students working together on population genetics problems sets. However, the majority of lab sessions will be devoted to laboratory exercises on human osteology, primate anatomy, human variation, and fossil evidence of human evolution.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students successfully completing ANSC 302 will:
a.    demonstrate understanding of the wide range of methods and theories in biological anthropology.  
b.    demonstrate a basic understanding of how biological anthropologists study human bone and what kinds of information which can be obtained from the study of bone.
c.    demonstrate an understanding of modern humans as primates, and be able to discuss the similarities and differences between humans and other primates.
d.    demonstrate an understanding of several differing views on human origins.

Assessment Measures

Students will be evaluated through in-class examinations with both objective and written sections. Additional short writing assignments may also be used throughout the semester to assess students' understanding of reading materials (e.g., article summaries and critiques).
The laboratory section will account for at least 25% of the overall class grade in ANSC 302. The laboratory grade will be based on weekly lab activities and assignments. Because the function of the lab is learning through hands-on experience, attendance and active participation will be included in assessment.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval
December, 2009

June 15, 2015