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
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:

  • Gain understanding of the evolutionary history of our species and its relatives
  • Gain an appreciation of the evolutionary and cultural drivers that have led to the pre-eminence of modern humans
  • Develop skills in identifying and assessing differences in elements of the human skeleton
  • Gain an understanding of the anatomy and function of the skeleton of hominins
  • 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 you 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

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.