Essentials of Biological Anthropology

Anthropology 260

PH311
Professor: Kate Pechenkina, Ph. D.
office: Powdermaker Hall 312A
telephone: (718) 997-5529
e-mail:
office hours: Wednesday 10:00 - 11:30 AM


     This course is an in-depth overview of the method and theory of biological anthropology, in which we aim to solidify student understanding of the discipline's key concepts via in-class discussions and hands-on exercises. During the first half of the semester, we will focus on the fundamentals of evolutionary theory and genetics as background material, as well as on the evolutionary factors that define biological and genetic variation among modern humans. Thereafter, we will focus on the principles of macroevolution and modern approaches to animal classification, examining how they apply to the origins and diversity of the Primate order, as well as to human evolution.
Grading

Your grade will be based on midterm and final exams, as well as problem sets, reports, and lab assignments. Being absent from class does not excuse you from turning in the assigned work on time. Late assignments submitted BEFORE the final examination will receive a maximum of 60% credit.



Lecture Quiz/Exam Schedule
Problem-sets, labs, participation 40 % (assignments will be distributed in class on a regular basis)
Midterm 10/14 30 % covers weeks 1-8
Final TBA 30 % covers weeks 9-15

Electronic Devices This is a computation intensive class. You will need to bring a calculator on a regular basis, especially during the first half of the semester. However, the use of other electronic devices, including computers, is not allowed. In a small classroom we cannot accommodate multiple laptops; incessant key-tapping during class is distracting. Use pen or pencil and paper to take notes. You will often need to sketch diagrams and copy charts. I will NOT be posting my notes on line, so it is YOUR responsibility to have good notes.



Textbook: The Human Species, 8th Edition. by John Relethford
Additional academic articles will be assigned

Syllabus

week

dates

Topics

Readings

1

8/26

Introduction: Biological Anthropology

Ch 1 (ALL)

2

8/31

9/2

The Biological Basis of Life: the cell, proteins

Central Dogma of Molecular Biology: DNA, RNA

Movies:
  1. (A) enzymes
  2. (B) enzymes
  3. (C) several enzymes work together
  4. antibodies
  5. (A) replication
  6. (B) replication
  7. (A) transcription
  8. (B) transcription
  9. (A) translation
  10. (B) translation

Ch 2: 31-39

Assignment 1

3

9/7

9/9

Cell Division/ Mendelian Genetics of simple traits

No class

Movies:
  1. Mitosis in a living cell
  2. Meiosis

Ch 2: 40-50/52-54; Fig 2:18,19

Ch 14: 359-360

Assignment 2

4

9/14

9/16

No class Friday schedule

Mendelian Genetics continued, polygenic traits

 

Ch 2: 50-52; Ch 14:364366

Ch 15: 394-396

5

9/21

9/23

Population genetics: introduction

Hardy-Weinberg theorem and its applications

Ch 3:65-70

Table 3.1,
Assignment 3

6

9/28

9/30

The forces of evolution: mutations, natural selection

Natural selection, continued

Ch 3: 70-76;

Ch 15: 388-403

7

10/5

10/7

The forces of evolution: Genetic drift

Genetic drift continued; Gene flow

Ch 3: 76-81; Ch 14:371-377

Ch 3:81-84, Ch 15:381-388
Assignment 4

8

10/12

10/14

Review

Midterm

Sample Midterm

9

10/19

10/21

Human Adaptations

Macroevolution/Principles of classification

Ch 16

Ch 4 All

10

10/26

10/28

Primates: introduction, cladistic vs. gradistic classification

the Monkeys

Ch 5 113-131

Ch 5 131-134, Ch 9: 233-234

11

11/2

11/4

Primates continued, Lab exercise

Allometry

Ch 6 All Ch 9:235-242

p 152; Ch 7:178-179

12

11/9

11/11

Overview of Human Evolution: Miocene/Pliocene

Genera: Australopithecus, Paranthropus, Homo

Ch 10:247-263

Ch 10: 263-276

13

11/16

11/18

Lab exercise: australopiths

early Homo; out of Africa

 

Ch 11 All

14

11/23

11/25

Homo sapiens, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis

Thanksgiving recess

Ch 12 All

15

11/30

12/2

Models of modern human origins; Lab exercise: genus Homo

Review

Ch 13 All

FINAL EXAM: During the week of finals (12/14-12/21), date/ time TBA