Javascript is currently disabled in your browser.
Please adjust this setting and refresh this page to continue using this system.

User login

Some content is restricted to university students and faculty. You may log in using your campus username to show the additional content.


Principles of Physical Anthropology

ANT 670 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 a detailed introduction to physical (or biological) anthropology, the study of human variation and human origins. The principal aims of the course are as follows:

  1. To understand the various aspects of biological anthropology as they have developed throughout the history of the discipline.
  2. To review the basic facts and ideas about human variation and human origins.
  3. To consider theoretical and methodological issues in biological anthropology.

Student Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Outline the history of the discipline of physical anthropology, including major historical figures and their contributions, intellectual trends, and major controversies.
  2. Understand evolutionary theory well enough to address new and unfamiliar evolutionary problems using “first principles.”
  3. Outline and describe the major branches of contemporary human biology, and identify major applications of human biology research to contemporary issues or debates concerning health, social policy, and human behavior.
  4. Identify both commonalities and diversity across non-human primate taxa in social behavior and ecology, and articulate the relevance of primatology to the broader anthropological enterprise.
  5. Outline human evolutionary history based on the fossil record.

Required Texts

UA Supply Store Textbook Information


If you are on a tight budget, buy the required titles used. We will be reading extensively from the recommended and optional titles, but these are collections of previously published articles, for the most part. That means you can acquire the original article as a PDF via our library, if we own the collection, or via Inter-Library Loan, if we do not. If you choose to go this low-cost route, do not wait until the week before the reading is due to track these down. Do it all at the beginning of the semester, as it may take several weeks for some titles. This is unusual, but it can happen. Alternatively, make friends with your classmates, go in on one copy of a book, make photocopies of the required readings, and place them in a 3-ring binder for the course.

As a graduate course, you are expected to do a lot of reading. Not all readings will be discussed every week but include material with which you should be familiar as a graduate student with a basic education in biological anthropology. One trick that may help you keep up is to LISTEN to your assigned readings. vBookz is an Apple and Android app that will read PDFs to you and highlight the place in the text if you would like to follow along. The PDF has to be clean and processed for text recognition. The voice is robotic and does not get everything correct--especially statistics--but I have found this app tremendously helpful in freeing me up from sedentary reading and speeding up my reading.

Other Course Materials

These and other additional readings will be available via Blackboard. Because many of our readings are from collections, they may be outdated by recent publications. In such cases, some replacements will be made throughout the course of the semester. If assigned articles are unavailable via Blackboard, you should have sufficient library skills to acquire copies and will be expected to do so and read it by the scheduled date:

Gould, SJ & RC Lewontin. 1979. The Spandrels of San Marcos and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 205(1161):581-598.

Hartwig, W. 2011. Primate Evolution. In C.J. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K.C. MacKinnon, S.K. Bearder, & R.M. Stumpf (eds.) Primates in Perspective. Pp. 19-31. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sussman, Robert W. 2011. A Brief History of Primate Field Studies. In C.J. Campbell, A. Fuentes, K.C. MacKinnon, S.K. Bearder, & R.M. Stumpf (eds.) Primates in Perspective. Pp. 6-11. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Templeton, AR. 2013. Biological Races in Humans. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44(3):262-271.

Extra Credit Opportunities

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.

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 133-B Martha Parham Hall East 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, 133-B Martha Parham Hall East, before receiving academic adjustments.

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.

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.

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.