This course is part of the minor Human Evolution and registration is restricted to students who followed the preceding course of this minor.
Coordinator: Dr. A. Verpoorte
In this course the fossil record of the human lineage will be explored from the last common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees to the emergence of Homo sapiens. We will meet the main hominins of the past 8 million years and look at traits such as bipedal locomotion, body size and brain size. We will study our collection of casts including for example “Lucy”, Neandertals and early modern humans and investigate which tools they used, what they ate, whether they used fire, and why all but Homo sapiens got extinct.
Teaching students the principles and methods of paleolithic archaeology and paleoanthropology
Providing knowledge about dating methods and site formation processes
Providing a framework of climate change and environments and the main sources of information on them
Providing knowledge about the main fossil hominins and specifically about the origins and dispersal of Homo sapiens
Discussing theories about the evolutionary history of human bipedality, brain size, toolmaking and diet
Training to make a scientific poster presentation on a paleoanthropological topic
By the end of the course, the students should able to:
know the main anatomical features, age and distribution of the main hominin groups
outline the main developments in the hominin fossil record and the origins and dispersal of Homo sapiens in particular
outline the evolution of human bipedality, brain size, toolmaking and diet
discuss several theories about the evolution of these features in terms of the fossil and archaeological evidence
understand and discuss relevant scientific literature about the evolutionary history of humans
present a paleoanthropological topic in the form of a scientific poster.
From 12 October 2021 to 6 November 2021. A detailed time table will be published on Brightspace.
Mode of instruction
Lectures, tutorials and practicals. Also, reading textbook and primary literature. Selfstudy.
Exam: Multiple choice test: percentage of the final grade 70%, minimum grade 5,6
Poster + pitch: percentage of the final grade 20%, minimum grade 6,0
Presentation: percentage of the final grade 10%, minimum grade 6,0
Inspection and feedback on the examination
On appointment with the coordinator / instructor
Will be used for communication and instruction.
Mandatory book: R. Boyd & J.B. Silk; How Humans Evolved, 8th edition, 2018; Norton Publishers. Or later edition.
Additional readings will be announced on Brightspace.
Register for this course via Usis
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.