2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog


Minimum Credits: 3
Maximum Credits: 3
In this course we will read primary literature that is relevant to the study of human evolution, both neo and paleobiologically. After a brief overview of the separate histories, and thus foci, of paleontology in general and human paleontology specifically, we will begin formal reading with Blumenbach's two major works, some Buffon, Linnaeus, and Lankester (and probably a few others), Huxley's essays of 1863, Darwin's descent these basically on the topic of "man's place in nature" and then delve into specific articles and monographs on the discovery, naming, and acceptance of human fossils. These readings will cover (but not necessarily be limited to) the debate between Schaffhausen and Fuhlrott, the naming by William, king of the first new hominid species (homo neanderthalensis), the works of Eugene DuBois (homo erectus) and Raymond Dart (australopithecus) and reactions to them, the Leakeys' discoveries at Olduvai Gorge, and some of the more recent finds. We will also discuss ramapithecus and its relevance to the still not satisfactorily answered question, "what is a homind?" The thrust of the course will be to tease apart fact from assumption as they were cobbled together in promoting one's favorite scenario on human evolution. Students will be expected to hand in annotated bibliographies based on the readings, and to take turns in leading discussion. Each student will also produce a term paper that will expand on a topic relevant to the course.
Academic Career: Graduate
Course Component: Seminar
Grade Component: Grad LG/SNC Basis

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