Human origins and evolution



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Human origins and evolution
Semester 1: Overview of human evolution (Simon Buteux)
Thursday 5th October

  1. Introduction. Why human evolution is important. The place of man in nature. Timescales. Climatic change. The disciplines contributing to the study of human evolution (biology, genetics, palaeoanthropology, archaeology, geology, scientific dating, etc).


Thursday 12th October

  1. Basic principles of natural selection. The development of the ‘third chimpanzee’ and the earliest hominids. Bipedalism.


Thursday 19th October

  1. The Age of Australopithecus.


Thursday 26th October

  1. The first humans (the genus Homo). Brain expansion. Tool making. Why did humans emerge?


Thursday 2nd November

  1. ‘Out of Africa I’: Homo erectus and Old World colonisation. Archaic humans (Homo heidelbergensis and others). Lower Palaeolithic tools and technology.


Week of Thursday 9th November

  1. Project week. There will be no formal class this week. Students are expected to use this time to work on the class essay/project that they have been set. The deadline for submission of this piece of work is 2.00 p.m., Friday 10th October.


Thursday 16th November

  1. Reconstructing hominid behaviour: the archaeological evidence.


Week of Thursday 23rd November

  1. During this week, seminars will be held to give students the opportunity to discuss their class work.


Thursday 30th November

  1. Neanderthals and the problem of language. Middle Palaeolithic tools and technology.


Thursday 7th December

  1. ‘Out of Africa II?’: the origins of Homo sapiens.


Thursday 14th December

  1. The ‘Upper Palaeolithic Revolution’: the archaeology of Homo sapiens.



Semester 2: Topics and practicals (Megan Brickley)


  1. : summary of the whole course and issues covered.


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