Anth 102 - Human Origins & Culture

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UpdatedJanuary 16, 2007

Course Description

This class explores the fossil and archaeological evidence for human evolution and the evolution of culture. We examine the fossil and artifact record of the last several million years in order to develop an understanding of why we are interesting animals and a somewhat unique species. The first part of the course considers our biological heritage. We learn the biological bases of human life and carefully evaluate the human fossil record. The second part of the course introduces students to archaeology, the evolution of cultural behavior, and world prehistory.

Grades will be based on two examinations, discussion section assignments, and two 3-5 page article reviews. The plus-minus system will be used for course grades. The two examinations will be held in 100 Gregory Hall.

Letter Grade Breakdown

Final Grade Points




93 - 96.99


90 - 92.99


87 - 89.99


83 - 86.99


80 - 82.99


77 - 79.99


73 - 76.99


70 - 72.99


67 - 69.99


63 - 66.99


60 - 62.99


1 - 59.99


Required Texts

(LJK) Lewis, Barry, Robert Jurmain, and Lynn Kilgore. (2007) Understanding Physical Anthropology and Archaeology. 9th edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

(L) Lewin, Roger. (2005) Human Evolution: An Illustrated Introduction. 5th edition. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Course Outline

Day Date Subject


W Jan 17 Introduction (LJK) Ch 1; (L) Ch 1
F Jan 19 Science and Evolution (LJK) Ch 2; (L) Ch 2
  Section: No sections this week  
M Jan 22 Genetics (LJK) Ch 3
W Jan 24 Genes in Populations (LJK) Ch 4
F Jan 26 Film: Among the Wild Chimpanzees (LJK) Ch 6, 7
  Section: Genetics  
M Jan 29 Case Studies in Evolution  
W Jan 31 Measuring Evolution & the Origins of Species (LJK) Ch 5
F Feb 2 Our Place in Nature (L) Ch 4
  Section: Systematics and Primate Morphology  
M Feb 5 Primate Adaptation & Behavior (LJK) Ch 6; (L) Ch 8, 15
W Feb 7 Fossils and Primate Evolution (LJK) Ch 8; (L) Ch 7
F Feb 9 Hominin Origins (LJK) Ch 9; (L) Ch 13, 31
  Section: Genetics Quiz  
M Feb 12 Earliest Hominins (LJK) Ch 9; (L) Ch 4,17-18
W Feb 14 Australopithecine Radiation (LJK) Ch 9; (L) Ch 19
F Feb 16 Phylogeny and Behavior of Early Hominins (LJK) Ch 9; (L) Ch 20
  Section: Early Hominins  
M Feb 19 Origins and Biology of early Homo (LJK) Ch 10; (L) Ch 22
W Feb 21 Homo erectus (LJK) Ch 10; (L) Ch 21
F Feb 23 Homo heidelbergensis et al. (LJK) Ch 11; (L) Ch 24
  Section: Genus Homo (Article Review Due)  
M Feb 26 Neanderthals (LJK) Ch 11
W Feb 28 Models of Modern Human Origins (LJK) Ch 12; (L) Ch 27
F Mar 2 Genes, Fossils, & Modern Human Origins  
  Section: Fossil Humans  
M Mar 5 Human Biological Variation (L) Ch 28-29
W Mar 7 EXAM 1 .. switching to page #s ..
F Mar 9 Archaeology: The Basics (LJK) 10-14, 170-184
  Section: No section meetings this week  
M Mar 12 Culture and Human Evolution (LJK) 2-4
W Mar 14 Hunting and Gathering (LJK) 319-320; (L) 170-175
F Mar 16 No class  
  Section: Archaeology  
Week Mar 19-23 Spring Break  
M Mar 26 Oldowan Tool Tradition (LJK) 185-189; (L) 151-156
W Mar 28 Acheulean Tradition (LJK) 222-244; (L) 166-169
F Mar 30 Middle Paleolithic (LJK) 253-272
  Section: Hunter-Gatherers  
M Apr 2 Middle Paleolithic and the Neanderthals (L) 181-182
W Apr 4 Upper Paleolithic (LJK) 276-296; (L) 208-214
F Apr 6 Upper Paleolithic, concluded (L) 229-235
  Section: Lower Paleolithic Technology  
M Apr 9 Peopling of the New World (LJK) 298-317; (L) 239-243
W Apr 11 New World Archaic (LJK) 318-323
F Apr 13 Old World Mesolithic/Epipaleolithic (LJK) 324-329
  Section: Middle & Upper Paleolithic Technology  
M Apr 16 Origins of Food Production (LJK) 332-348; 364-372
W Apr 18 Old World Origins of Food Production (LJK) 348-355
F Apr 20 New World Origins of Food Production (LJK) 355-364
  Section: Populating the New World  
M Apr 23 Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations (LJK) 374-385
W Apr 25 Old World Cities and States (LJK) 386-400
F Apr 27 New World Cities and States (LJK) 402-428
  Section: Food Origins (Article Review Due)  
M Apr 30 Trends in Cultural Evolution  
W May 2 Exam 2 review  
F May 11 EXAM 2 (1:30-4:30, 100 Gregory Hall)  

Exam and Assignment Schedule



% Final Grade

Discussion Section Assignments



First Article Review

Week of Feb 19


First Examination

Wednesday, Mar 7


Second Article Review

Week of April 23


Second Examination

May 11, 1:30-4:30


Academic Policy

Students are required to attend lectures and discussion sections; failure to attend class may result in points being subtracted from your final grade. Videos and films are integral to the course, and you are expected to attend classes for which these are scheduled. These materials are presented only once and cannot be lent to students. Lecture notes are not lent. Failure to meet the examination and assignment schedule will result in an ‘F’ for the assignment missed. Cheating will not be tolerated. Definitions of cheating, including plagiarism, are detailed in Section 1-402 of the Student Code. Please review this important information.


John Polk
Office: 188 Davenport Hall
Office Hours: 2-3 MWF

Barry Lewis
Office: 209F Davenport Hall
Office Hours: 9-10 MWF

COPYRIGHT © 2007 Barry Lewis All Rights Reserved.
The contents of the syllabus, class materials (including audio-visual) and lectures for this course are copyrighted. They are intended for the students' private use and may not be reproduced without the permission of the professor.