Anthropology 205: Biological Anthropology

Anthropology 205: Biological Anthropology
Dr. Kathryn Keith
Anthropology is the study of humankind around the world and through time.
Physical or Biological anthropologists study the biological evolution of humans as a
species, as well as the biological variation among human beings today. They are
particularly interested in how biological, cultural, and environmental factors interact to
shape human characteristics. Physical anthropologists may study ancient fossils of
humans and their ancestors, modern human populations, or non-human primates
(especially chimpanzees). Among many specializations within Physical Anthropology
are: palaeoanthropology (the study of ancient humans and human ancestors),
primatology (the study of living nonhuman primates), and forensic anthropology (the
study of human remains as part of criminal investigations).
Anthropology 205 is an introduction to the broad field of Biological Anthropology. The
core of Biologiical Anthropology is the study of human biological evolution. In this
course, you will be expected to understand and be able to explain how biologists and
anthropologists approach the issue.
During the term, you will be introduced to concepts in several of the specialized areas
within biological anthropology:
* We begin with genetics as we look at the mechanisms that contribute to biological
variation (past and present). Some issues you’ll address include:
- Lamarkian vs. Darwinian concepts related to biological evolution
- processes that contribute to biological variation in populations
- current understandings of microevolution and macroevolution
* We then move to primatology, as we compare and contrast the physical and
behavioral characteristics of humans and nonhuman primates. You'll learn about:
- common primate traits
- distinctions among different kinds of primates
- primate intelligence, communication, and social life
* In the next section, we study palaeoanthropology as we learn about early hominids
and human biological evolution. Issues you’ll address include:
- evidence for the earliest hominids
- human ancestors: what they were like, how they lived, how we know
- the development of human intelligence, language, and culture
- diaspora: when did humans first occupy different areas of the world?
* Finally, we look at human biological variation, human ecology, and even a little
taste of forensic anthropology as we consider the various biological, cultural, and
environmental factors that shape human biological variation today. You'll learn about:
- race as a social construct, not a biological reality
- how we understand biological variation among humans today
- what we can learn about people from their skeletal remains
There is one required text for this course: Essentials of Physical Anthropology, 7th
edition (Jurmain, Kilgore, and Trevathan).
We will also be using several pages from The Human Evolution Coloring Book
(Zihlman). These are required, but you have the option of buying the book or making
copies of just the required pages (both the coloring plate and the information page
that goes with it). A copy of the book is available on reserve in the library. Plan to bring
your text and coloring book materials to class regularly. Colored pencils will be provided
for in-class work with Zihlman.
Your grade in this course will be based on the following components:
Participation, assignments:
Weekly quizzes:
Exam #1:
Exam #2:
Calculating your grade: Not all points are weighted equally, so simply dividing your
points by the total possible points will NOT give you an accurate idea of your grade. See
the document on our website for instructions on how to calculate your grade. Angel's
overall grade (on your grade sheet) is a rough approximation of your grade at any given
Incompletes or NC grades: These options are only available under specific (and
relatively unusual) circumstances. For example, if you completed nearly all the
coursework, but were hospitalized the last week of the term and unable to complete the
last assignment or exam, a grade of Incomplete might be an option for you. If your job
transferred you out of state after the deadline to withdraw had passed, an NC grade
might be an option for you. In general, however, you should expect to receive the grade
you have earned based on your work in the course.
NOTE: * No late assignments will be accepted, without previous arrangement.
* No emailed assignments will be accepted, without previous arrangement
* Missed exams or assignments cannot be made up.
* No makeup exams are given without previous arrangement and permission of
the instructor.
* Extra credit is not generally available for this course.
If you can't come to class the day an assignment is due, you can turn it in early, have
someone else bring it in for you (to class or to my office), or email it to another student
in the class and have them print it out and turn it in for you (do not email it to me; I do
not accept emailed assignments).
If you are having printer problems at home, email your assignment to yourself (pasted
into the body of your email, NOT as an attachment) and print it out on campus. This
might be a good strategy to use in general, just in case… 
Your final course grade will be recorded based on the 4-point decimal grading system
used at Pierce College. The table below shows how the decimal grades relate to letter
4.0-3.9 = A
3.8-3.5 = A-
3.4-3.2 = B+
2.4-2.2 =C+
3.1-2.9 = B
2.1-1.9 = C
2.8-2.5 = B1.8-1.5 = CAnything below 0.7 (D-) is a failing grade.
1.4-1.2 = D+
1.1-0.9 = D
0.8-0.7 = D-
Standard percentage equivalents are:
Grades in the 90s = A+ to AGrades in the 80s = B+ to BGrades in the 70s = C+ to CGrades in the 60s = D+ to DGrades of 59% or below are failing.
Expectations for adequate (C) work include: completing coursework on time and doing
an adequate job on it. To get an A or B in the course, your work must be of
correspondingly higher quality. For more information on grading standards and
expectations, see the Grading Standards document.
This is a brief overview of the course requirements. For your success in the course, it is
vital that you carefully read the detailed instructions explained in the Course
Requirements document.
EXAMS: There will be two exams during the term, each worth 25% of your grade.
NOTE THE FOLLOWING DATES ON YOUR CALENDAR. You must be present in class for
each exam on the day and time it is scheduled; makeup exams are ONLY offered in
case of medical or other emergency, and then both documentation and instructor
permission are required. If you have such an emergency that prevents you from coming
to the scheduled exam, you must email me as soon as possible that day with an
* Exam #1: TUESDAY 10/27, in class. It covers Part One and Part Two.
* Exam #2: THURSDAY 12/10 from 10am - 12pm. NOTE THE TIME - if you come
late, you will not be allowed to take the exam if anyone has already completed it
and left the room. This exam covers Part Three and Part Four.
QUIZZES: There will be an online quiz over the readings every week. The first quiz is
due by 5:00pm Friday 9/25; the second quiz is due by 10am the following Tuesday. The
week of our midterm exam, the quiz will be due Thursday. The rest of the quizzes this
term are due by class time (10:00 am) Tuesdays. See the course calendar for specific
readings and due dates. In addition to the regular quizzes, there will be a
comprehensive 50-question optional quiz available the end of the term. If you choose to
take the optional quiz, your lowest quiz grade of the term will be dropped. Your quiz
average is 25% of your grade.
ASSIGNMENTS: There are 5 scheduled assignments for the term, worth a total of 250
points. Instructions will be given in class and posted on our website.
* Practice essay: 15 points - due Monday 10/12
* Primate assignment: 100 points - due Monday 11/2
* Hominid dating game: 100 points - due Friday 11/20
* Adaptations assignment: 15 points - due Friday 12/4 (the assignment will be
distributed and completed in class; it is not homework)
* Article assignment: 20 points - due Tuesday 12/8
In addition, some short in-class and take-home assignments may be collected during
the term for 5-10 points each. Late assignments are not accepted; missed in-class
assignments cannot be made up. Assignments and participation, taken together, are
25% of your grade.
PARTICIPATION: Each class day is worth either 5 or 0 points; partial credit is not
available. To earn the points, you must be present, prepared, focused, and engaged
during the entire 50 minutes. You will earn ZERO points that day if you:
* miss any part of the class
* distract yourself or others (talking, reading, sleeping)
* are unprepared (you don't have your text or other materials with you)
* have "toys" (cellphones, laptops, mp3 players) out in your hands, on the table, etc.
Pierce College has identified five core abilities:
* Critical Thinking
* Multiculturalism
* Information Competency
* Responsibility
* Effective Communication
Responsibility, Information Competency, and Effective Communication are important for
your success in any class. You’ll be building on those abilities in part through the
choices you make regarding class attendance, completion of assignments, and
independent study. You’ll work on communication skills in class discussions and writing
assignments, and on information competency as you find, evaluate, organize, and
explain new vocabulary, information, and ideas.
The core abilities that we will be focusing on most directly are Critical Thinking and
Multiculturalism. In this course, you’ll be learning about lifeways vastly different from
our own. You'll be asked to adopt a multicultural, relativist perspective as you learn
about other cultures and diverse ways of being. Much of what you will be asked to do in
this class - on assignments, discussions, and activities – involves critical thinking. You’ll
be expected to identify, explain, analyze, and evaluate anthropological evidence. You'll
be asked to apply concepts as you analyze patterns in order to explain variation. To do
this effectively, you'll need to master fundamental vocabulary and information. Some of
your independent study time each week should be devoted to this task.
(CH = Chapter number in Jurmain et al.; HECB = Zihlman)
Links for the first three chapters of Jurmain et al. are available in the ASSIGNMENTS
folder on our website, but you’ll need your own text starting with Chapter 4.
Quizzes cover the readings from Jurmain each week (listed below). The first quiz is due
by 5:00 pm Friday 9/25; most of the other quizzes are due online by class time (10 am)
For each unit below, you'll also see a list of required and recommended pages from The
Human Evolution Coloring Book (Zihlman), which is on reserve in the library:
* The required pages are ones we do in class. They are not covered on the quizzes,
but information from them will be covered on exams. If you choose not to purchase the
book, you should go to the library and copy the required pages (both the information
page and the coloring plate) and bring them with you to class each day of that particular
unit. You must have a blank coloring plate for our class work. If you buy a used coloring
book, be sure you make a clean copy (using the one in the library) of any required
plates that someone has already colored.
* The recommended pages relate to issues we deal with in class. If you find the
coloring book works well for your learning process, or if you just want another way to
reinforce what we've been working on, these pages would be useful to do on your own
or with a study group. However, they are not required.
Please read the Course Requirements document carefully so that you receive full
credit for your work.
HECB: Have the required pages with you each day starting Monday 9/28.
* Required: Unit 1: #15, 22
Unit 2: #7, 8, 12
Unit 6: #7, 13, 14
* Recommended:
Unit 1: #10-14, 16-19;
Unit 2: #1-5, 9-11, 13, 14
9/23-25: Studying physical anthropology
** Quiz 1: CH 1 & 2, & all documents on the Course Information page of our
due by 5:00 pm Friday 9/25
9/28-10/2: Genetics & Heredity
** Quiz 2: CH 3 & pp. 56-67 of CH 4 due class time (10:00 am) TUE 9/29
10/5-9: Variation & Evolution
** Quiz 3: pp.67-76 of CH 4, CH 5, & p. 346 due class time TUE
HECB:* Required: Unit 3: #1, 6, 11, 15, 16, 18, 29, 32, & 34
Unit 4: #8, 9, 18, 20, 25, 26, & 35
Unit 5: #14
* Recommended:
Unit 3: 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12-14, 17, 19-23, 27-28, 33, & 35
Unit 4: 4, 12, 19, 25, 26, 30, 36
10/12-16: Primates
** Practice Essay: due class time MON
** Quiz 4: CH 6 due class time TUE
10/19-23: Primate Behavior
** Quiz 5: CH 7 due class time TUE
HECB:* Required: Unit 5: 3, 4, 12, 13, 15, 18-20, & 28
* Recommended:
Unit 5: 1, 2, 5-8, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 23, 25-27, 29
10/26-30: Early Hominids ** INSERVICE FRIDAY 10/30 - NO CLASSES **
EXAM 1: in class TUESDAY 10/27; it covers Part One & Part Two. You must take the
exam at the scheduled day and time.
** Quiz 6: CH 8 due class time THURSDAY 10/29
11/2-6: Homo erectus and contemporaries
advisor **
** Primate Assignment: due MON
** Quiz 7: CH 9 due class time TUE
** Make an appointment with your faculty
11/9-13: Premodern Humans ** HOLIDAY WED 11/11 – NO CLASSES **
** Quiz 8: CH 10 due class time TUE
11/16-20: Premodern and Modern Humans
** Quiz 9: CH 11 due class time TUE
** Hominid Dating Game: due FRI
HECB:* Required: Unit 6: #4-7, 9-14
* Recommended:
Unit 6: 3, 8, 15
11/23-27: Patterns of Adaptation ** HOLIDAY WED 11/24 to FRI 11/27 – NO
** Quiz 10: CH 12 due class time TUE
11/30-12/4: The Human Life Course
** Quiz 11: CH 13 and Appendix D (pp.349-353) due class time TUE
** Adaptation Assignment due FRI (in class; not homework)
12/7-11: The Impact of Culture ** LAST DAY OF CLASSES 12/8; FINALS 12/9-11 **
** Quiz 12: CH 14 due class time TUE. This chapter will not be covered on your final
** Article Assignment due TUE
** EXAM #2: THURSDAY 12/10 from 10am - 12pm. The exam covers Part Three and
Part Four.
You must take the exam at the scheduled day and time.
** Optional Quiz: Due by noon FRIDAY 12/11. Did you mess up on a quiz sometime
during the term? You can make up for it with the Optional Quiz. It is 50 questions long
and covers the entire text. Just like the other quizzes, it is open book and you can take it
as many times as you wish. If you take the optional quiz, your lowest quiz score of the
term will be dropped.