ANTHROPOLOGY 15: Behavioral and Evolutionary Biology of the Human Life Cycle
COURSE DESCRIPTION & GOALS: Why are our babies so expensive? Why do they take so long to grow up? How do we select our mates? Are male and female reproductive strategies in conflict? Why do we live so long after we’ve stopped reproducing? In this class, we will explore these and other questions about the human life cycle from an evolutionary perspective. We will focus on two major issues: (1) how and why does the human life cycle differ from that of other species? and (2) what explains the variation in people’s reproductive decisions across cultures and over time? By the end of the course, you should understand the basic life history trade-offs that shape human reproductive biology and behavior, and identify ecological and cultural pressures that drive diversity in how and when humans are born, grow up, mate, give birth and die. You should be able to translate these ideas and communicate them to non-scientists in a variety of written formats. You will also have developed the skills to critically compare the coverage of scientific findings in the popular press to the results that were actually reported in the primary scientific literature.
ANTHROPOLOGY 154 C/CL: The Behavior and Ecology of Primates
COURSE DESCRIPTION & GOALS: As anthropologists, we are particularly interested in the behavior of non-human primates because we think that given (1) our close phylogenetic relationship and/or (2) the similarities in our social organization, these taxa can provide special insight into the evolutionary origins of our own species. How do we know what we (think) we know about primate behavior? In this class, we will explore various approaches to conducting scientific research on primate behavior, focusing on the design, collection and analyses of observational data. You will work in groups to identify interesting questions about primate behavior, formulate hypotheses and testable predictions to answer these questions, develop a methodology for collecting the data to test these predictions, analyze these data using statistical methods, and present the results of your study in both oral and written formats. By the end of the course, you should be well versed in conducting searches of the scientific literature and reading and assessing scientific articles, and should have developed the skills to work as a team to develop and conduct research projects and communicate the results of that research to a general audience. Note: ANT 154C & 154CL *must* be taken together.