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Courses / Modules / ARCH3042 Ecology of human evolution: biological, social and cultural approaches to hominin adaptations.

Ecology of human evolution: biological, social and cultural approaches to hominin adaptations.

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
15
ECTS points
7.5
Level
Level 6
Module lead
Simon Davies
Academic year
2021-22

Module overview

This module explores human evolution in terms of physiological, social and cultural adaptations. It explores human ecology in the broad sense, combining not just cultural and social variability, but also physiological adaptations in past and present-day hunter-gatherers and great apes. These physiological adaptations are not just skeletal, but are also reflected in soft tissues and in surviving genotypes. We shall cover six main themes: different models of biocultural change; Human Behavioural Ecology; hominin energy budgets; brain size changes; dexterity, handedness and tool-use; social organisation over time and space. Evidence derived from primatology, ethnoarchaeology, ancient DNA, stable isotopes and Palaeolithic assemblages can be used to test models such as the Social Brain hypothesis, Daily Energy Expenditures, hominin thermoregulation and mobility/locomotion costs, and the applicability of different evolutionary mechanisms to change in the archaeological record (e.g. Lamarck versus Darwin). Lectures will be augmented by student-led seminars on key debates in palaeoanthropology and Human Behavioural Ecology.

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