ANT 102: Introduction to Physical Anthropology
Physical Anthropology is the branch of Anthropology (the holistic study of humanity) that explores the biological aspects of the human form. As such, Physical Anthropology is a biological science. Physical Anthropology is also a social science and investigates human biology in the context of human culture and behavior. This course serves as an introduction to the field of Physical Anthropology and students will scientifically examine human adaptations, human variability, and the evolution of humans and their nearest relatives, living and extinct. The topics to which students will be exposed include human evolution, genetics, human diversity and adaptability, primatology (the study of behavior of non-human primates), and paleoanthropology (the study of primate and human fossils).
In conjunction with the lecture portion of the course, students attend a weekly two-hour laboratory session. In the lab students gain hands-on experience investigating genetics, human variability, primatology, osteology, human and primate paleontology, and forensic anthropology. Our impressive Physical Anthropology resource collection includes an impressive collection of human and primate osteological specimens and one of the most extensive collections of hominid fossil casts in the country including dozens of crania and post-cranial elements as well as fully articulated casts of Australopithecus afarensis ("Lucy"), Homo ergaster (Nariokotome Boy), and Neanderthal. The lab assignments complement material covered in lectures, providing students with an opportunity for understanding the subject matter, concepts, and principles through observation, demonstration, and problem solving.
This course satisfies the General Education lab science requirement and is offered every semester. Archaeology majors bound for graduate school who have taken this course and performed exceptionally well should consider earning ANT 479 credits by serving as a Teaching Assistant. Opportunities for undergraduate students to obtain teaching experience are rare, and serving as a TA for ANT 102 will set you apart from your peers and increase your chances of being accepted to competitive graduate programs and obtaining funding for your graduate education.
This course is offered every semester.