ANT 670 Section 001: Principles of Physical Anthropology

Fall 2012

3 Credit Hours
Primary Instructor: Dr. Christopher Lynn
Syllabus subject to change.
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From the Student Records System

No prerequisites found.

Course Description

This course will meet in the Anthropology Lab in Rowand-Johnson 37D.


This course provides a detailed introduction to physical (or biological) anthropology, the study of human variation and human origins. The principal aims of the course are as follows:

  1. To understand the various aspects of biological anthropology as they have developed throughout the history of the discipline.
  2. To review the basic facts and ideas about human variation and human origins.
  3. To consider theoretical and methodological issues in biological anthropology.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course students should be able to:

  1. Outline the history of the discipline of physical anthropology, including major historical figures and their contributions, intellectual trends, and major controversies.
  2. Understand evolutionary theory well enough to address new and unfamiliar evolutionary problems using “first principles.”
  3. Outline and describe the major branches of contemporary human biology, and identify major applications of human biology research to contemporary issues or debates concerning health, social policy, and human behavior.
  4. Identify both commonalities and diversity across non-human primate taxa in social behavior and ecology, and articulate the relevance of primatology to the broader anthropological enterprise.
  5. Outline human evolutionary history based on the fossil record.

Outline of Topics

Weeks 1-2, August 22 – 29


  • Organizational Meeting
  • What is Physical Anthropology and how did it get that way?
  • What are the conceptual underpinnings of modern physical anthropology?
  • Evolutionary Theory

Presentations available:

  • History of Physical Anthropology
  • Evolutionary Theory
  • Misconceptions in Evolution


  • Spencer (1981)
  • Washburn (1953)
  • Little (Human Evolutionary Biology or HEB)
  • Caspari (2003)
  • Sussman (field primatology on eLearning)
  • Calcagno (2003)
  • Futuyma (HEB)
  • Your physical anthropology text (YPAT): Intro, chapters on evolution


  • Edit your statement on our website using this link to tell about your background in anthropology, why you came to UA, who you're working with, and what you hope to do for your thesis research. (due 8/24: all assignments are due by 1PM on the assigned date)
  • Read and prepare a typed summary (to be turned in) of Washburn and Spencer (due 8/22).
  • Alspaugh, Dorsey, & Duffield: Divide up & summarize Little, Caspari, Calcagno, Sussman, & Futuyma on your blogs & prepare class presentation/discussion (due 8/28).

Week 3, September 5


  • Genetics
  • Primate Origins

Presentations available:

  • Molecular and Familial Genetics
  • Population Genetics
  • Primate Evolution


  • Meier & Ruff (HEB)
  • Marks (Human Evolution Source Book or HESB)
  • Steiper (HEB)
  • Wrangham & Pilbeam (HESB)
  • Brown & Van Couvering (HESB)
  • Hartwig (fossil primates)
  • YPAT: Chapters on genetics, cell biology, and Primates, taxonomy, behavior

Assignments (due 9/4):

  • Greenemeier & Herndon: Summarize Meier & Ruff, Marks, & Steiper on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion
  • Koenig & Leon: Summarize Wrangham & Pilbeam, Brown & Van Couvering, & Hartwig on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion

Week 4, September 12


  • Ape Foundations

Presentations available:

  • Primates


  • Primate Anthology Pt. I & II
  • YPAT: Chapters on primates

Assignments (due 9/11):

  • Owens & Stewart: Summarize Primate Anthology Pt. I on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Wilson & Alspaugh: Summarize Primate Anthology Pt. II on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 5, September 19


  • Hominid Origins: Australopithecines
  • Homo genus

Presentations available:

  • Models of Hominid Origins
  • Pliocene-Pleistocene Hominids
  • Fossil Hominids
  • The Genus Homo


  • Tattersall 2000
  • Aiello & Andrews (HESB)
  • Lovejoy (HESB)
  • Wood (HESB)
  • Walker (HESB)
  • YPAT on classification, hominids, Australopithecines, & early Homo

Assignments (due 9/14):

  • Dorsey & Duffield: Summarize Tattersall, Aiello & Andrews, & Lovejoy on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Greenemeier & Herndon: Summarize Wood & Walker on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 6, September 26


  • Homo dispersals & “race”

Presentations available:

  • Human Variation
  • G6PD
  • Sickle Cell
  • Human Adaptation
  • Skin Color Example


  • Larick & Ciochon (HESB)
  • Stringer (HESB)
  • Wolpoff, Hawks, & Caspari (HESB)
  • Templeton (2nd-Human Races HESB)
  • Carroll (HESB)
  • Dixon (HESB)
  • Krings et al (HESB)
  • YPAT on hominid dispersals ("out of Africa" vs. "multiregional hypothesis"), archaic Homo, Neandertals, species classification, & "race."

Assignments (due 9/25):

  • Koenig & Leon: Summarize Larick, Stringer, Carroll, & Krings et al on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Owens & Stewart: Summarize Wolpoff, Hawks, & Caspari; Templeton; & Dixon on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 7, October 3


  • Human Revolution

Presentations available:


  • Weiner et al (HESB)
  • Thieme (HESB)
  • McBrearty & Brooks 2000
  • YPAT on the Paleolithic revolution, human variation & adaptation.

Assignments (due 10/2):

  • Wilson & Alspaugh: Summarize Weiner et al & Thieme on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Dorsey & Duffield: Summarize McBrearty & Brooks on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 8, October 10: MIDTERM EXAM

Week 9, October 17


  • Human Demographic Transition
  • Human Variation

Presentations available:

  • Human Variation
  • G6PD
  • Sickle Cell
  • Human Adaptation
  • Skin Color Example
  • Samoan Adaptation
  • Samoan Foodways


  • Jones (HEB)
  • Cohen 1998 (eLearning)
  • Relethford chaps 7-10 (eLearning)
  • Leonard & Katzmarzyk (HEB)
  • Brutsaert (HEB)
  • Jablonski (HEB)
  • Marks (HEB)
  • YPAT on human variation, migrations

Assignments (due 10/16):

  • Greenemeier & Herndon: Summarize Jones, Cohen, & Relethford on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Koenig & Leon: Summarize Leonard & Katzmarzyk, Brutsaert, Jablonski, & Marks on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 10, October 24


  • Growth & Development

Presentations available:


  • Bogin (HEB)
  • Flinn (HEB)
  • Konner 13-15

Assignments (due 10/23):

  • Owens & Stewart: Summarize Jones, Cohen, & Relethford on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Wilson & Alpaugh: Summarize Leonard & Katzmarzyk, Brutsaert, Jablonski, & Marks on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 11, October 31


  • Evolution of Family

Presentations available:


  • Konner 2-5, 16-19

Assignments (due 10/30):

  • Dorsey & Duffield: Summarize Konner 2-5 on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Greenemeier & Herndon: Summarize Konner 16-19 on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 12, November 7


  • Sex & Reproduction

Presentations available:


  • Schmitt (HEB)
  • Gray (HEB)
  • Wedekind & Evanno (HEB)
  • Primate Anthology Pt. III

Assignments (due 11/6):

  • Koenig & Leon: Summarize Schmitt, Gray, & Wedekind & Evanno on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Owens & Stewart: Summarize Primate Anthology Pt. III on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 13, November 14: OFF FOR AAA

Week 14, November 21: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Week 15, November 28


  • Health

Presentations available:


  • Muehlenbein (HEB)
  • Eaton (HEB)
  • Ewald (HEB)
  • Crews & Stewart (HEB)
  • Schell (HEB)

Assignments (due 10/27):

  • Wilson, Alspaugh, & Dorsey: Summarize Muehlenbein, Eaton, & Ewald on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Duffield, Greenemeier, & Herndon: Summarize Crews & Stewart, & Schell on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.

Week 16, December 5


  • Acculturation

Presentations available:


  • McDade & Nyberg (HEB)
  • Kuzawa (HEB)

Assignments (due 12/4):

  • Koenig, Leon, & Owens: Summarize Jones, Cohen, & Relethford on your blog & prepare class presentation/discussion.
  • Stewart & Wilson: Summarize two current articles related to human acculturation & this course on your blog, copy everyone on the original articles, & prepare class presentation/discussion.


Exams and Assignments


There will be an in-class essay midterm exam and a take-home essay final exam. Exams are designed to simulate the comprehensive exams, allowing students to learn, review, and synthesize material as they will be forced to do for that milestone in the program. The midterm will be allocated the full class period.  Essays should be well-organized and written in addition to being factually correct and complete, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  They will be scored in accordance with the following rubric, which approximates the evaluation criteria for the comprehensive exams:


Limited (0)

Fair (1)

Good (2)

Excellent (3)

Content knowledge








Overall Impression



Your participation will be established by demonstrating that you are well prepared for class. There will be three general areas in which this will be assessed:

  1. Participation during class (this is a graduate level seminar and every student is expected to contribute to the discussion each meeting);
  2. Preparation of weekly assignments including the blog entries and class presentations/discussions, which are to be prepared by 1PM on the date due--late assignments will be penalized; and
  3. Participation online via blogging.


Each of you will be assigned a blog on the UA Anthropology Word Press blog site that you may use while you are a student here (though posts regarding this class may be removed by the administrator at the end of the semester). Information regarding how to set up and use these sites will be provided in class.

Blog entries are an opportunity for you to engage the material, the discipline, and an online community of scholars. Each of you will be given blog space to set up on a UA Anthropology Word Press site. You are expected to summarize the articles assigned and discuss how they relate to other things you have read or are reading, your own research, or anything else that seems relevant. Additionally, this blog space will be yours, and you are encouraged to use it for academic blogging with respect to your own research and other topics of interest to you as they relate to anthropology. Examples of academic blogging vary widely, but you can get some ideas via the following post on my blog in which I compiled all the active biological anthropology blogs I could find:

Grading Policy

Your grade will be determined by your scores on four essay exams and on your participation in class as follows:

  • Midterm exam 30%
  • Final exam 40%
  • Participation 30%

Policy on Missed Exams & Coursework

There will be no make ups for classes, exams, or other assignments.

Attendance Policy

This is a discussion-oriented class and attendance is required. Since 30% of your grade for this course is based on participation, any absences will lower your grade. Please contact Dr. Lynn in advance if you have some urgent need to be absent from a class session.

Required Texts

UA Supply Store Textbook Information

Textbook data from the Supply Store not found for this course.

Other Course Materials

These additional required readings will be available via eLearning:

Cohen, M.N. 1998. "The emergence of health and social inequalities in the archaeological record." In S.S. Strickland & P.S. Shetty (eds.) Human Biology and Social Inequality. Pp. 249-271. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hartwig, W. 2011. "Primate Evolution." In C.J. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K.C. MacKinnon, S.K. Bearder, & R.M. Stumpf (eds.) Primates in Perspective. Pp. 19-31. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Konner, Melvin. 2010. chapters from The Evolution of Childhood.

McBrearty, S. & A.S. Brooks. 2000. The revolution that wasn't: A new interpretation of the origin of modern human behavior. Journal of Human Evolution 39:453-563.

Relethford, John. chapters 6-10. Reflection from Our Past.

Spencer, Frank. 1981. The rise of academic physical anthropology in the United States
(1880-1980): A historical overview. American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Sussman, Robert W. 2011. "A Brief History of Primate Field Studies." In C.J. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K.C. MacKinnon, S.K. Bearder, & R.M. Stumpf (eds.) Primates in Perspective. Pp. 6-11. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tattersall, Ian. 2000. Paleoanthropology: The Last Half-Century. Evolutionary Anthropology 9(1):2-16.

Washburn, Sherwood L. 1953. The strategy of physical anthropology. In A. L. Kroeber,
ed., Anthropology Today. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pp.714-726.

Extra Credit Opportunities

Participation in the following will not earn you course extra credit but is a good way to enhance your academic career, develop your teaching abilities, become involved in ongoing research, and develop your own research design and methodology:

The UA Anthropology Department offers a course in anthropology at Tuscaloosa Magnet Elementary School during the fall semester as part of the TMSE-UA Partnership. The course is administered by Dr. Lynn and Dr. Duke Beasley, and we are looking for two graduate students to assist with this course. The class meets over the course of 12 weeks on Tuesdays from 1-1:45. The curriculum has already been developed, but we welcome new ideas. See the blog for information about this course:

The Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group is an integrated group of grad and undergraduate students from several disciplines directed by Dr. Lynn, the goal of which is to formulate and carry out exciting and innovative research projects in human behavioral ecology.  Weekly meetings are held Fridays 9-noon in Rowand-Johnson 37.

Some current projects include "Fireside Relaxation Study," "Cultural Knowledge & Mating Success," "Religious Ecology Study in Costa Rica & Tuscaloosa," "Inking of Immunity: Tattooing & Immunoglobulin A," and others initiated by various members. See the HBERG website for more info:

See Dr. Lynn if you are interested in participating.

Policy on Academic Misconduct

All students in attendance at the University of Alabama are expected to be honorable and to observe standards of conduct appropriate to a community of scholars. The University expects from its students a higher standard of conduct than the minimum required to avoid discipline. Academic misconduct includes all acts of dishonesty in any academically related matter and any knowing or intentional help or attempt to help, or conspiracy to help, another student.

The Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Policy will be followed in the event of academic misconduct.

Disability Statement

If you are registered with the Office of Disability Services, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss any course accommodations that may be necessary. If you have a disability, but have not contacted the Office of Disability Services, please call 348-4285 or visit 133-B Martha Parham Hall East to register for services. Students who may need course adaptations because of a disability are welcome to make an appointment to see me during office hours. Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services, 133-B Martha Parham Hall East, before receiving academic adjustments.

Severe Weather Protocol

In the case of a tornado warning (tornado has been sighted or detected by radar, sirens activated), all university activities are automatically suspended, including all classes and laboratories. If you are in a building, please move immediately to the lowest level and toward the center of the building away from windows (interior classrooms, offices, or corridors) and remain there until the tornado warning has expired. Classes in session when the tornado warning is issued can resume immediately after the warning has expired at the discretion of the instructor. Classes that have not yet begun will resume 30 minutes after the tornado warning has expired provided at least half of the class period remains.

UA is a residential campus with many students living on or near campus. In general classes will remain in session until the National Weather Service issues safety warnings for the city of Tuscaloosa. Clearly, some students and faculty commute from adjacent counties. These counties may experience weather related problems not encountered in Tuscaloosa. Individuals should follow the advice of the National Weather Service for that area taking the necessary precautions to ensure personal safety. Whenever the National Weather Service and the Emergency Management Agency issue a warning, people in the path of the storm (tornado or severe thunderstorm) should take immediate life saving actions.

When West Alabama is under a severe weather advisory, conditions can change rapidly. It is imperative to get to where you can receive information from the National Weather Service and to follow the instructions provided. Personal safety should dictate the actions that faculty, staff and students take. The Office of Public Relations will disseminate the latest information regarding conditions on campus in the following ways:

  • Weather advisory posted on the UA homepage
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