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Anthropology Major/Minor Requirements

ANT 211: General Anthropology

        Because the field of anthropology is so broad and can encompass so many different aspects of the human condition (past and present) it is somewhat impractical to attempt and cover everything in a single semester. Any such attempt would sacrifice any hopes of synthesis and depth for topical breadth.  Therefore, in General Anthropology we explore 5 topics that all (or the majority) of the different sub-fields of anthropology contribute to in some way.  All are topics that are somehow connected to concepts that are generally considered to be somehow defining of what it means to be human:

        (1) Religion
        (2) Language and Linguistics
        (3) Sex and Reproduction
        (4) Human Evolution
        (5) Social Organization

ANT 215: Introduction to Biological Anthropology

        Biological anthropology is the study of the interaction between humans and culture using the physical body as the source of data.  This spans the human experience from our primate roots to modern human diversity.  We will begin by exploring the history of ideas related to the scientific method and evolution, as well as our current understanding of evolutionary processes.  Evolution both creates and requires genetic variation.  Building on this background to evolutionary biology we will look at primate diversity, primate evolution and primate behavior.  From here we will move on to explore human evolution: from early primates to modern Homo sapiens.  We will look at the fossil evidence for human evolution and how we study aspects of early human behavior.  The course concludes by considering the adaptive significance of biological diversity in modern populations. By viewing ourselves both in the context of populations around the world and in terms of how modern humans have evolved we can gain a better understanding of who we are and our place in the world. As we create new environments – both intentionally and unintentionally – we shape the future course of not only our evolution, but the evolution and extinction of other species. 

ANT 293: Forensic Anthropology

        This course is designed to introduce students to the field of forensic sciences and in particular the class focuses on the role of the forensic anthropologist.   The course will cover a variety of subjects, including basic skeletal biology, osteology, field recovery of human remains, time since death, facial reconstruction, and recognition of gross trauma and pathology.  The class will include a laboratory portion in which they will learn osteology and the “art” of age, sex, and race estimation of human skeletal material.  The class will not provide in-depth coverage of ballistics, serology, hair analysis, or fingerprinting except as related to forensic anthropological investigations.

ANT 301: Human Evolution

        This course is designed to introduce students to (1) the fundamentals of evolutionary theory and (2) the application of this framework for our understanding of human evolutionary history.  The course will begin by introducing students to the theory of evolution, its historical background and its modern articulation. We will also explore modern modifications to Darwinian evolution.  From here we will begin to explore the anatomical and phylogenetic context of human evolution by discussing the origin and evolution of primates.  Then we will explore the origins of the first hominins and their place in the human family tree. Finally, we will discuss the origins of the genus Homo, the criteria used to differentiate these specimens and the emergence of the modern human suite of anatomical and behavioral characteristics.

ANT 302: Human Osteology

        This lab course is designed to provide students with a hands-on experience with biological anthropology.  Students will learn the fundamentals of hard and soft tissue anatomy, including basic histology, anatomical terminology, orientation, and physiology.  Students will also learn dental anatomy as this is an important data source that primatologists use to reconstruct primate natural history.  Following this, the students will learn how biological anthropologists examine human variation via anthropometry, leading into the practical application of suck skills within the field of forensic anthropology.

ANT 393: Mummy Studies

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of mummies around the world.  It begins with an introduction to the theoretical foundations of mummies studies, to the study of death and the mortuary context.  The course then ranges over all of the continents, examining where and when mummies are found.  This survey is used as a vehicle to explore the contributions that biological anthropology can make to mummy studies.