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Viewing: ANTH 143 N: Exploring Human Bio

Last approved: Tue, 29 Oct 2019 19:37:22 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 10 Oct 2019 15:17:44 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

Sector Requirements

Your department or program fields a variety of courses to meet distinct educational needs. Please explain how this course fits into your department's plan for participating in the general education curriculum of the College. The sector panel will want to know what is distinctive about this course along with the other courses your department lists in the sector that makes them suitable for the sector requirement.
This course will be one of the main foundations to the Biological Anthropology Concentration and will be an elective for the other concentrations in the department, including the Environmental Anthropology concentration. In contrast to ANTH 003 which covers human evolution in a chronological framework from the origins of primates, this course covers variation in modern humans from a physical, developmental, and functional perspective. It is the ultimate refutation of the concept of physical race in humans.
Course usually offered in spring term
Natural Science & Math Sector
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.

Sector I - Society


Sector II - History and Tradition


Sector III - Arts & Letters


Sector IV - Humanities and Social Science


Sector V - Living World


Sector VI - Physical World


Sector VII - Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• The study of human biology necessarily draws upon materials and approaches from multiple disciplines including Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, Nutritional Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Epidemiology, and Medicine.
• It also incorporates methods and theory from the social sciences including Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, and Linguistics.
• This course will regularly draw on two or more of the aforementioned disciplines in both the lectures and laboratory portions of the class. Students will be required to conduct laboratory-based experiments like those in a chemistry or biology lab but they will also integrate statistical methods from epidemiology and sociology to consider how the results of laboratory experiments may translate at larger population levels. For example, after learning about the genetic basis of “super tasters” or individuals who are extremely sensitive to certain compounds, students will undertake an experiment to determine their own status as a supertaster. They will then be provided with anonymized data from the entire class to calculate the prevalence of the supertaster phenotype for the class population. Thus, they will draw on biological, statistical, and epidemiological knowledge in the course of a single lab activity and write-up.
By combining training in the history and theory of human biology with laboratory-based learning activities, this class provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates to actually put into the practice the methods they learn about in the course of the class. Weekly lab activities provide the students with hands-on opportunities to take part in the scientific process and to cultivate their skills in scientific writing. Additionally, these lab activities provide students with an opportunity to apply the scientific theories and knowledge learned during lecture in a grounded and practical way. For example, students will learn about elements of evolutionary theory such as natural selection, geneflow, and population bottlenecks in lecture and readings and will then have an opportunity to examine these principles in action through a microevolution lab which simulates the forces of selection on a given population. Finally, through the study of human biology, students will come to a greater understanding of themselves, their health, their place in the world, and the history of their species.

Administrative Field

Katherine Moore (kmmoore) (Wed, 14 Aug 2019 20:07:18 GMT): Rollback: Clarification on Sector/Foundational Approach
Katherine Moore (kmmoore) (Wed, 28 Aug 2019 20:11:51 GMT): Anth 122, which currently is a Sector VII course, will no longer be offered after Spring 2020.
Kent Peterman (peterman) (Thu, 10 Oct 2019 13:56:46 GMT): Rollback: Kate, can you add a few sentences to the "endorser justification," which is the first field in the "Sector Requirements" section?
Key: 578