What is the course about?
This course provides a complete introduction to the biological evidence for human evolution and the way in which this is analysed and interpreted. We will also study the principles of evolution and how we can work out human behaviour from bones and tools. We will find out where and when humans first originated and then ask the more difficult questions about why such as: why do humans walk on two legs? How did humans spread throughout the globe? Starting from the first human-like creatures 5 - 7million years ago, we will follow history chronologically up to the point where humans are considered to have become anatomically and behaviourally modern. This process involved a wide variety of species, some of which were not our direct ancestors but service to illustrate the breadth of adaptations seen within our branch of the tree of life.
Please note that the time of this course is printed incorrectly in Build's prospectus. The correct time is 19:40-21:10. Please refer to this webpage for correct and up-to-date information..
What will we cover?
- Key aspects of primate and human anatomy
- Biological evidence for human evolution and the origins of humans
- How biological evidence is found and recovered e.g. how fossil sites are dated, ancient DNA evidence, how we work out ancient diets and environments
- Key questions in human evolution (e.g. the extinction of Neanderthals, the colonisation of the New World, the emergence of bipedalism and large brains)
- Our ancestor species - who they were, what they looked like, where they lived
- The emergence of modern human anatomy, behaviour and culture.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Describe and/or identify key aspects of primate and human anatomy
- Name and describe our ancestor species (their scientific names, what they looked like and where they lived)
- Explain what a modern human is (and how it differs from previous species)
- Outline the key questions and hypotheses in human evolution such as the emergency of bipedalism, large brains and the use of tools.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and is open to all. No prior knowledge of the subject is required. However, you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course and to participate fully in discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught in a number of ways including presentations with visual examples, discussions and group work.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HS083 Evolution of great apes
HS154 One million years of human evolution in London
HS023 Geology and London
HS201 Cosmic perspectives for world history
HS094 The history of science.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details