Preview Workflow

Viewing: ANTH 143 M: Exploring Human Bio

Last approved: Fri, 11 Oct 2019 20:34:59 GMT

Last edit: Wed, 28 Aug 2019 19:14:43 GMT

First Name Last Name Userid Title Home School Org Short Name
Theodore Schurr tgschurr Professor School of Arts and Sciences Anthropology
Spring 2019
Fall 2019
Exploring Human Bio
This course is an exploration of human biology from a biocultural and evolutionary perspective. The class will provide you with a better understanding of what it means to be human, how humans came to exhibit such a wide range variation, and what biological anthropology can contribute to your understanding of the world. In this class students will learn to integrate the theory and methods used in human biology research through lectures, assignments, and lab sessions. This course will explore topics including human genetics, growth and development, nutrition, disease, and reproduction. We will also use the course as an opportunity to introduce you to the important contributions of biological anthropologists to the study of race, inequality, sex and gender, and health among others.
Every Other Term

Foundational Approach

Course usually offered in spring term
Quantitative Data Analysis
Theodore Schurr
Standing Faculty
Standing Faculty
This course is a requirement for the Biological Anthropology major and will provide a foundation in the methods, theory, and topics of Biological Anthropology, preparing students to take more advanced coursework in the subject.
Students will:
• Understand evolutionary theory and natural selection as they apply to humans.
• Consider human biology and anatomy and identify those sources of variability in contemporary human populations.
• Actively participate in academic discussions and debates regarding the biology, health, and variability of contemporary human populations.
• Learn and practice methods used in the anthropological study of human biology.
• Integrate the theory and methods of biological anthropology through laboratory activities and write-ups.
• Enhance computational and quantitative abilities through the analysis of human biology data.
• Evaluate scientific studies and their presentation through critical engagement with scientific scholarship.
• Develop an appreciation for human variation and human diversity.
• Think creatively about anthropology and how it relates to other disciplines.

Methods of Assessment

Students will be required to complete one “stepped” research paper (8-10 pages) over the last quarter of the class. The stepped description refers to the fact that the students will complete small steps towards the paper (i.e., statement of topic, annotated bibliography, prospectus) that will assure they are working on it in advance of the deadline and to assure that all students are familiar with the formal steps of research and paper production. Students will be provided a number of possible topics for their paper, but also have the option of selecting a topic of their interest not included in the list with instructor approval.
There will be a midterm exam and a final exam, both of which will include multiple choice and matching questions as well as short and long answer questions. Each will cover half of the course materials for the semester (i.e. both are non-cumulative.)
Students will complete weekly writing assignments in conjunction with their lab sections. These lab write-ups will typically require statistical analyses that students will conduct and write up in the form of short reports. Weekly lab write-ups may also take the form of response papers to articles of relevance to the week’s topical discussion. The length of these write-ups will vary based on the assignment, but all are intended to begin to familiarize students with multiple forms of scientific writing.

Participation in lab activities and discussion.

Cross Cultural Analysis


Cultural Diversity in the US


Quantitative Data Analysis

Both Majors and Non-Majors
Yes, in addition to collecting data from themselves as objects of study, students will be asked to analyze and interpret data in a series of lab activities and their associated assignments. Students will collect physiological data (anthropometrics and biomarkers) as well as survey data that they will then explore. They will undertake descriptive analyses as well as learn how to transform/normalize data and test for basic correlations. For example, in the anthropometrics lab, students will measure and record their own anthropometric data. They will then use anonymized data from the rest of the class to examine trends in anthropometric measures and compare the class measures to different populations around the world. Through this process, they will familiarize themselves with the calculation of standard scores or z-scores, which, in turn, will allow them to compare individual measures with group measures. Students will also have an opportunity to test more complicated hypotheses using regressions and T-tests with data sets provided by the instructor (see attached “Basic Statistics Assignment” as an example of a model assignment).
Yes. For example, the Basic Statistics Assignment (attached) asks the students to examine a real data set from study in the Philippines to explore the relationship between socioeconomic status and height. This assignment, grounded in a real data set, as well as similar assignments using data that they generate themselves, will help students to see how quantitative concepts learned in class can be applied real world settings.
Students learn a number of key quantitative concepts as well as statistical methods in the class. Lab activities will familiarize them with examining and normalizing the distribution of data as well as calculating standard scores (z-scores). They will also learn about the concept of random and non-random variability through the microevolution lab. Students will also be asked to undertake some basic statistical analyses including calculating key statistics such as means, standard deviations, and summary measures (correlation coefficients/r-values), testing for linear associations, and using those linear equations to calculate predicted values. In the process, they will learn the key assumptions that must be met for such analyses. Additionally, because of the nature of human biology research and its use of study samples, students will learn about the use of inferential statistics as well as the difference between statistics and parameters.

Formal Reasoning


Administrative Fields

College Curriculum Committee
Kent Peterman (peterman) (Thu, 10 Oct 2019 20:42:09 GMT): Great QDA course.
Key: 859