Year
2020
Units
4.5
Contact
2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
6 x 2-hour workshops per semester
3 x 3-hour practicals per semester
1 x 3-hour computer lab once-only
1 x 40-hour project work per semester
Assessment
Assignment(s), Laboratory work, Practicals, Workshops
Topic description
This topic will give students an understanding of how our species fits into a wider evolutionary framework. We will discuss the origins and early evolutionary history of hominids, explore their spread throughout the world and identify the key evolutionary and cultural drivers that have underpinned the success of Homo sapiens as a species. Students will examine the morphological and behavioural characteristics of hominins in order to gain a better understanding of how we move, feed and reproduce. They will learn how we can use the fossil record to better understand the diversification of hominins, the position of our species in this evolutionary framework and the reasons we’re the only hominin species on the planet today.
Educational aims
This topic aims to provide students with the opportunity to:

  1. Gain understanding of the evolutionary history of our species and its relatives

  2. Gain an appreciation of the evolutionary and cultural drivers that have led to the pre-eminence of modern humans

  3. Develop skills in identifying and assessing differences in elements of the human skeleton

  4. Gain an understanding of the anatomy and function of the skeleton of hominins

  5. Use information in the fossil and archaeological records to identify and interpret major factors in the development of Homo sapiens.
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Distinguish between the various bones comprising the human skeleton

  2. Have a good understanding of the factors influencing the evolution of hominids

  3. Understand the ecological impacts of the global spread of humans

  4. Have an appreciation of the ways in which we can extract information from the fossil record.