• Introduction to Biological Anthropology
This course provides an introduction to the study of Homo sapiens from an evolutionary, biological, behavioral, and biocultural perspective. Topics covered include: the history of evolutionary thought, basic human genetics, the anatomy and behavioral ecology of the living primates, human evolution via the study of fossil hominins, modern human variation and adaptation, and the study of the human skeleton in forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology.
• Primate Behavior and Ecology:
An introduction to the social and physical diversity of the Order Primates, emphasizing the biology, ecology, and behavior of living nonhuman primates. Social structure will be explored from an evolutionary perspective, and the ecological and social constraints on behavioral flexibility will be examined. Examples will cover both field and laboratory investigations of nonhuman primates.
• Anthropology of Sex and Reproduction:
Throughout this course we will examine current issues in human sexual behavior and reproduction (both biological and cultural) from an anthropological perspective. Most broadly defined, Anthropology is the study of human kind and through anthropological investigations we strive to learn who we are, how we came to be, and where we are headed. This approach will enable us to study the interrelatedness of biological, behavioral, cultural, social, and political aspects of human sex and reproduction. Through readings, lectures, films and class discussions we will examine issues such as new reproductive technologies, the biology and culture of pregnancy and childbirth, mate choice, menopause, etc.
• Primate Models of Human Social Evolution:
Humans are members of the order Primates and we share much in common with our non-human primate cousins (evolutionary history, genetics, physiology, behavior, etc). It is because of these similarities, in particular the similarities in our genetics with the great apes, that many taxonomists classify humans as the fourth great ape species (chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans being the other three). In this class we will examine some of the current studies of the living nonhuman primates and discuss the insights they can provide into human evolution and social behavior. Throughout the course we will critically evaluate attempts to use primates as models for the evolution of human behavior and discuss various controversies surrounding the study of the evolution of behavior, with particular reference to the theoretical frameworks of socio-biology and behavioral ecology. Topics to be discussed include: material culture, sex and reproduction, social organization, cognition, aggression and warfare, hunting and meat eating, etc. Classes will be conducted in a seminar fashion with both students and instructor leading lectures and class discussions.
• Methods of Observation in Behavioral Research:
This course will focus on the development, design, analysis, and presentation of research on behavior using observational methods. While these methods can be used on captive populations (zoo, research center), they are appropriate also for studies of free-ranging animals, including human beings. The student will be exposed to the specific challenges of observational research and will learn appropriate levels of analysis.
• Primate Sexuality:
In this course we will explore primate socio-sexual behavior from an evolutionary perspective. While sexual reproduction is a measure of Darwinian success in all sexually reproducing organisms, the expression of such behavior, the physiological response, and the anatomical and ecological factors associated with sexual reproduction differ across nonhuman primate species. This topic is of particular interest in the primates (including humans) as sexual behavior occurs across a variety of contexts that do not pertain to reproduction. Following a broad survey of mating patterns throughout the primate order, we will discuss specific topics, including male and female mating strategies, mate choice, the evolution of sexual dimorphism, homosexuality, genital morphology, sperm competition, and socioendocrinology.