A biological anthropology course for high school students, with extra material on applied medical anthropology.


This class studies a branch of anthropology concerned with the study of human evolution and human biological variation. Research on human evolution involves the discovery, analysis, and description of fossilized human remains. Two key goals are the identification of differences between humans and their human and nonhuman ancestors, and the clarification of the biological emergence of humankind. A variety of quantitative methods are used, including the comparative analysis of genetic codes. Research on biological variation among contemporary humans once relied heavily on the concept of race, but today principles of genetics and the analysis of such factors as blood type have largely eliminated race as a scientific category.



1.   What Is Anthropology? Four Fields.


2.   Early Theories of Evolution
Pre-Darwinian Theories
Darwin and Natural Selection
Evidence of Evolution


3.   Basic Principles of Genetics
Mendel’s Genetics
Probability of Inheritance
Exceptions to Simple Inheritance


4.   Biological Basis of Heredity
Basic Cell Structures
Cell Reproduction and Conception
Recombination and Linkage
Sex Linked Genes
Molecular Level of Genetics


5.   Human Chromosomal Abnormalities
Common Abnormalities
Autosomal Abnormalities
Sex Chromosome Abnormalities


6.   Modern Theories of Evolution
Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium Model
Natural Selection
Small Population Size Effects
Gene Flow
Non-Random Mating
Micro and Macro Evolution


7.   Human Blood
Blood Components
ABO Blood Types
Rh Blood Types


8.   Modern Human Variation
Models of Classification
Distribution of Blood Types


9.  Human Biological Adaptability
Adapting to Climate Extremes
Adapting to High Altitude
Skin Color Adaptation – Race has no biological basis (review from Cultural Anthro)
Nutritional Adaptation


10.   Classification of Living Things
Principles of Classification
Kingdom to Subphylum
Classes of Vertebrates
Mammal Subclasses and Infraclasses


11.     Primates
Lemurs and Lorises
New World Monkeys
Old World Monkeys


12. Primate Behavior
Social Structure
Adaptations of Group Living


13. Record of Time / Dating Methodology
Interpreting the Fossil Record
Overview of Dating
Relative Techniques
Chronometric Techniques


14. Early Primate Evolution
15. Early Hominin Evolution


16. Early Human Evolution


17. Evolution and Spread of Modern Humans


18.   Topics in Medical Anthropology if time permits.