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Introduction to Biological Anthropology

ANT 270 Section 001

Fall 2015, Lecture

Dr. Christopher Lynn


UA Course Catalog Prerequisites

No prerequisites or none listed.

Course Description

UA Course Catalog Information


This course provides an introduction to the current scientific consensus about human biological variation and evolution with an emphasis on the interaction of social behavior and biological change.  The first section of the course begins with a review of the scientific method, then presents evolutionary theory and the underlying genetic and biological principles.  The second section of the course is a brief survey about what we know regarding the behavior and evolution of the non-human primates.  Learning about primates, which are our closest mammalian relatives, can help us understand human evolution and behavior.  The third section of the course explores the evolution of hominids, the human ancestors and their close relatives, through the emergence of modern humans.  Finally, we address modern human biological variation from the perspective of biocultural adaptation and culture change in living populations.  The objective of the course is to give the student an appreciation for the place of humans in nature from a biocultural and evolutionary perspective and to provide the background necessary to critically evaluate statements about human biology.

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain and quantitatively apply the respective roles of selection, random forces, and equilibrium in population genetics and human evolution.
  2. Communicate scientific information that common ancestry of humans and other primates is supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
  3. Identify major distinguishing morphological characteristics of hominid paleospecies, modern humans, and living primates and describe their functional significance.
  4. Apply biocultural, evolutionary, and adaptive critical thought processes to new problems in human biology, especially those encountered among global modern human populations.

Required Texts

UA Supply Store Textbook Information


Other Course Materials

The course has a Blackboard site that you can access through myBama under the "Academics" tab, or by going directly to  The Blackboard site will feature links to course-related content, including Tegrity files of the lectures, PDFs of PowerPoint presentations, Gradebook, announcements, and a discussion forum where you can ask class-related questions.

Ensure that your Blackboard settings include the correct email address so course messages arrive in your inbox.

You can also ask questions or post course-related information for the entire class in the class Facebook group, which you can join here:

Let Dr. Lynn or your GTA know if you have any difficulty accessing Blackboard at the start of the course.

Extra Credit Opportunities

You can earn up to 6 extra credit course points during the semester in increments of 2 points per opportunity (unless stated otherwise elsewhere) in the following ways:

  • Attend any ALLELE talk hosted during the semester. To verify your attendance, you must take a "selfie" with the speaker in the background. A dropbox for these will be created on Blackboard. Please contact your GTA if you do not see where to turn them in.
  • Go to a zoo and complete the Supplemental Post-Lab Exercises for "Primate Observations at the Zoo" in Chapter 12 of your lab manual for one species.
  • Other miscellaneous opportunities as posted by Dr. Lynn.

Please turn all extra credit in to your GTA.


There is a closed Facebook group for this course at Please join us. It will be a forum for exchanging information about items in the news, pop culture, and other events (or your dirty little secrets, if you choose to expose them, I suppose). This is not required, but I have found it works better than Blackboard forums designed for the same purpose.

Also, "like" the UA Department of Anthropology ( and the ALLELE series ( on Facebook so that we can keep in touch with you and you can stay informed about our events and activities.

Evolutionary Studies

This course fulfills a core requirement in both the Anthropology major and minor and a new minor in Evolutionary Studies (EvoS). If you are not an Anthropology major or minor and have not already decided to declare a minor in EvoS, we hope this course leads you to consider doing so. EvoS is an interdisciplinary minor, housed in the Department of Anthropology and is designed to introduce students to the fundamental importance of evolutionary theory as an explanatory model for life and behavior. This course fulfills a requirement as a foundational course in the EvoS minor. Other requirements of the minor include two capstone courses (including ANT 150, offered every Spring), a 200-level course in the biological principles of evolution. Additionally, minors are required to complete six elective hours in two separate disciplines.

This program is integrated with UA's Evolution and Origins Working Group (EVOWOG)and its Alabama Lectures on Life's Evolution (ALLELE) speaker series ("Like" us on Facebook [] to stay informed!). You are strongly encouraged to attend the ALLELE lectures presented this semester. This minor is part of a larger EvoS Consortium, which includes approximately 42 other institutions worldwide, though we are only one of four full-fledged minors. We take pride in this fact, given that Alabama recently scored at the very bottom of the 50 states in teaching evolution at the k-12 levels (even worse than Mississippi!).

As part of the EvoS program, there is an EvoS Club. You are welcome to become part of this club whether you declare yourself an EvoS minor or simply maintain an abiding interest in evolutionary theory and its myriad applications and implications. The activities of the Club include helping with the ALLELE series, organizing Darwin Day events, and a fossil-hunting field trip.

If you are interested in the EvoS minor (either to declare or for more information), contact Dr. Lynn (


Emergency Contact Information

UA's primary communication tool for sending out information is through its web site at  In the event of an emergency, students should consult this site for further directions. Additional course information will be posted using Blackboard Learn.

Severe Weather Guidelines

The guiding principle at The University of Alabama is to promote the personal safety of our students, faculty and staff during severe weather events. It is impossible to develop policies which anticipate every weather-related emergency. These guidelines are intended to provide additional assistance for responding to severe weather on campus.

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 University Relations will disseminate the latest information regarding conditions on campus in the following ways:

  • Weather advisory posted on the UA homepage
  • Weather advisory sent out through UA Alerts to faculty, staff and students
  • Weather advisory broadcast over WVUA at 90.7 FM
  • Weather advisory broadcast over Alabama Public Radio (WUAL) at 91.5 FM
  • Weather advisory broadcast over WVUA-TV/WUOA-TV, and on the website at WVUA-TV Home Team Weather provides a free service you can subscribe to which allows you to receive weather warnings for Tuscaloosa via e-mail or cell phone. Check for more details and to sign up for weather alerts.

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.

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 of Alabama expects from its students a higher standard of conduct than the minimum required to avoid discipline. At the beginning of each semester and on examinations and projects, the professor, department, or division may require that each student sign the following Academic Honor Pledge: “I promise or affirm that I will not at any time be involved with cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or misrepresentation while enrolled as a student at The University of Alabama. I have read the Academic Honor Code, which explains disciplinary procedure resulting from the aforementioned. I understand that violation of this code will result in penalties as severe as indefinite suspension from the University.”

See the Code of Student Conduct for more information.

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 (205) 348-4285 (Voice) or (205) 348-3081 (TTY) or visit 1000 Houser Hall 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, 1000 Houser Hall, before receiving academic adjustments.

UAct: Ethical Community Statement

The University of Alabama is committed to an ethical, inclusive community defined by respect and civility. The UAct website ( provides extensive information on how to report or obtain assistance with a variety of issues, including issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, sexual violence or other Title IX violations, illegal discrimination, harassment, child abuse or neglect, hazing, threat assessment, retaliation, and ethical violations or fraud.