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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Gerald G Eck
BIO A 201
Seattle Campus

Principles of Biological Anthropology

Evolution and adaptation of the human species. Evidence from fossil record and living populations of monkeys, apes, and humans. Interrelationships between human physical and cultural variation and environment; role of natural selection in shaping our evolutionary past, present, and future. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

Biological Anthropology 201 is designed to cover major aspects of primate, especially human, evolution. First, I present an introductory section on general evolutionary theory and an overview of the Order Primates, that group of animals to which we belong by virtue of our evolutionary history, after which I cover aspects of the fossil record which throw light on that history. Then I discuss the basic means whereby evolutionary change takes place, focusing upon recent evolutionary changes that have affected numerous human populations.

The theme of the course is explicitly evolutionary, evolutionary concepts being the most edifying and comprehensive organizing principles in the sciences of life. For the first time in the millions of years since our family arose, we have the tools to discover our origin and clarify our position in the broader biological community. I hope you learn to use them well.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Each student is expected to attend four lectures and one discussion/quiz section weekly. The discussion/quiz sections, led by teaching assistants, give students the opportunity to address their one concerns about course material through questions and additional discussion. The sections also provide time for the two quizzes held quarterly.

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequisites to the course and it is meant for students of sophomore standing, but prior knowledge of biology will certainly make learning the material of the course easier.

Class assignments and grading

Reading assignments from the textbook are made on a daily bases. Homework assignments are regularly distributed and discussed in discussion/quiz section.

Evaluation of student performance is based on two quizzes, one midterm and one final examination and on attendance and participation in discussion/quiz sections.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Gerald G Eck
Date: 10/01/1998