Human Evolutionary Biology
Human Evolutionary Biology 2024-25
School of Environmental & Natural Sciences
Module - Semester 2
This module will cover:
- How to study human evolution (theory, evidence, methods and ethics);
- Humans in primate context;
- The human fossil record & ancient environments;
- Modern human evolutionary biology (including genetics, reproduction/sexuality, endocrinology/physiology, diets, life histories, behavioural ecology and health & disease);
- The archaeological evidence for human evolution;
- The evolution of cognition;
-threshold -A threshold student (scoring 50-59%) should have a basic grasp of the major patterns in human evolution presented in the module, and some understanding of the ways in which humans differ from other animals. Written answers will demonstrate the ability to organise relevant lecture material into a clear argument and contributions in class will show some evidence of thought about the intended audience and their level of prior knowledge.
-good -A good student (scoring 60-69%) should have a thorough factual knowledge of all areas of the module, and be able to give examples where appropriate to back up their arguments. Written answers should demonstrate some critical thinking and evaluation of the evidence surrounding a coherent argument, and will be able to synthesise lecture material with information from the students’ wider reading. Class contributions will be considerate of the audiences’ prior knowledge and will show evidence of careful planning and reflection.
-excellent -An excellent student (scoring 70%+) should demonstrate comprehensive factual knowledge of human evolutionary biology, including evidence of significant wider reading e.g. of sources not found on the reading list. They will show a critical understanding of the theories underpinning studies of human evolution and will be able to evaluate case studies to construct and defend a convincing, coherent argument in written assignments. Contributions in class will integrate evidence from a wide range of sources and will take careful account of the audiences’ prior knowledge and the ethics of human biology.
- Be able to explain their understanding of human evolutionary biology to specialists and non-specialists using appropriate language and means of presentation.
- Critically assess the archaeological, genetic and comparative evidence for the evolution of human cognitive capacities and behaviours like the use of language, art and music
- Demonstrate a detailed understanding of how modern human biological systems (including locomotion, endocrinology, behaviour, diets, life histories, reproductive strategies and social systems) have evolved from the time of our last common ancestor with chimpanzees
- Describe the history of palaeoanthropology and evaluate the significance of specific fossil discoveries, novel techniques and theories pertaining to our growing understanding of our own past
- Explain and critique specific theories of human evolution in the context of wider debates on evolutionary theory.
Logbook Or Portfolio