Logo Students

ANTH151 – Human Evolution and Diversity

2017 – S2 External

General Information

Pdf icon Download as PDF
Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Sumant Badami
Friday 12-2 (or by appointment)
Unit Convenor
Greg Downey
Lisa Wynn
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit explores the evolution of our species, what makes humans distinct, and how we have developed the biological, cultural and technological diversity we now see around us. The unit examines new research, highlighting the most recent discoveries and theoretical breakthroughs, encouraging students to learn more about the major debates, key discoveries, and important theories in the study of human evolution. Specifically, the unit provides students with a background in evolutionary theory, genetics, anthropology, paleoarchaeology, and comparative primatology in order to address a number of topics: the development of the human brain; bipedalism; language; families; social life; sexuality; reproduction; hunting; diet; clothing; art; stone tools and technology; domesticated plants and animals; cities; and the first civilisations. The unit also demonstrates how an evolutionary perspective offers new insights into modern human diversity, including both cultural and biological differences among us. The unit does not require a background in the biological or evolutionary sciences. It provides an excellent foundation for understanding and evaluating important contemporary issues such as whether sexuality is hardwired, how technology affects us, if genetic racial differences are significant, what makes our species distinct, and how humans might look in the future.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.
  2. Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  3. Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  4. Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.
  5. Actively participate in group discussions and examinations of material related to human evolution (such as facsimile remains, site surveys, and material culture).
  6. Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

General Assessment Information

All assessment scores will be available through iLearn. Please be patient with our markers as the large number of students makes it necessary for us to complete a lot of marking -- and then sit down to compare marks across different markers. Please make sure that your marks appear by the end of the semester, but recognise that it may take two weeks to finish large assessments that are hand marked. No quiz marks will be posted until the quiz closes.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Online Tutorials 10% Throughout semester
Literature Review 20% 17 September, 5 pm
Weekly Online Quizzes 22% weekly after 11 August
Outline essay 23% 29 October, 5 pm
Final exam 25% TBA (exam period)

Online Tutorials

Due: Throughout semester
Weighting: 10%

Everyone enrolled externally in Anth 151x must participate in online tutorial discussion in order to get full marks in the unit; your online tutor assigns your mark for the tutorial and bears primary responsibility for marking your written work. You should have already enrolled in the external tutorial when you enrolled in the course, so there is no need for additional scheduling.  You must participate weekly in online discussions and activities starting in the second week of the semester.

Please see the special section in iLearn for external students to find out more about external policies.

10% of the marks are for tutorial discussions, and essay extensions are dependent on your tutor’s assessment of your satisfactory participation (see Assessment policy below).  So be sure to participate in the discussions.

The purpose of tutorials in this course is to foster informed discussion. Therefore, you MUST read the assigned material before you comment on the online discussions; if the Tutor finds that you have persistently not read the material, you will not have your participation counted as full credit.  The tutorial program is parallel to the lectures, but you cannot get the material in the tutorials without doing the tutorial activities. Many of the tutorials are built upon activities that involve consulting online facsimile human remains or other linked materials, so you will need to engage with the external tutor to get access to this material. If you find the material difficult or there are things you don’t understand in the readings, bring up your questions to discuss. Make a note of the important issues that the readings and lectures pose for you and raise them on the external tutorial discussion boards.

Tutorial assessment: All students may miss up to two weeks of the online discussions without needing explanation. Any more misses (three or more) will result in a reduction of your final mark. Your tutor will make sure that your participation is adequate and reflects that you are keeping up with the readings and lectures.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.
  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.
  • Actively participate in group discussions and examinations of material related to human evolution (such as facsimile remains, site surveys, and material culture).
  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Literature Review

Due: 17 September, 5 pm
Weighting: 20%

See the iLearn site for complete description and advice.

The literature review is a library-based assignment that can be conducted online, especially using the Macquarie University Library’s extensive database and journal collection.

Students will find a recent article in a scientific journal referred to as the 'target article' (peer reviewed and published in the last five years). They will also find five additional sources linked to this article, either because they are cited in the target article's References or because they cite the target article (or in the References of one of the articles CITING the target article). This process may be made easier using the ‘Web of Science’ database, available through the Library’s database collection. There is a tutorial video available on how to do this through iLearn.

The student must copy all citations accurately, write IN HIS OR HER OWN WORDS a summary of the crucial finding or research result (around 200 words EACH), and the reason for its importance in relation to the other articles. (See the samples for suggested formats.) Some articles may contradict the 'target article', but try to keep article summaries concise and highlight their significance in relation to each other.  

At the end of the reviews, complete the assignment with a 200-word or less analysis of the debate. All word and page numbers are estimates, they are not LIMITS, nor are they MINIMUMS. The whole assignment usually takes four pages or less to complete. If you are much over or under this, you may not be providing enough information or, alternatively, may be providing too much. 

All written assignments will be submitted through Turnitin, and all will be screened for plagiarism and unacknowledged citation. Because you are expected to quote (and indicate that things are quotes), there is no maximum or minimum Turnitin similarity score that is above or below reproach. In other words, we will look carefully if we suspect there is an issue, and no material may be copied without proper citation.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Actively participate in group discussions and examinations of material related to human evolution (such as facsimile remains, site surveys, and material culture).
  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Weekly Online Quizzes

Due: weekly after 11 August
Weighting: 22%

Starting after the lecture in Week 2, students will be expected to take a weekly quiz online based on the readings, lecture and tutorial activity. The close will close prior to the lecture in the following week. 

The quizzes will consist of at least five questions each week, drawn from a pool. Not every student will receive the same questions, but all students will receive a roughly comparable quiz (that is, a certain number of questions will be drawn from the reading and from the lecture, from separate pools of questions). 

The quizzes are open book and open note. If a student misses a weekly quiz, he or she will receive a zero for that quiz. No make-up quizzes or assessment tasks will be offered as this exercise is meant to make sure that students keep up with the material during the course of the semester.

  


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.

Outline essay

Due: 29 October, 5 pm
Weighting: 23%

See iLearn for complete information and advice for completing the assessment.

Using skills practiced in the Literature review, the student will prepare an Outline essay, which involves developing the essential elements of a good essay in outline form.  The Outline essay will involve choosing one of the Outline essay topics, or proposing a topic based on a lecture topic or reading in our unit outline, and preparing an introduction (approximately one page), an outline of evidence and how the argument would be structured (citing the sources), conclusion which discusses the implications, reservations and importance of the argument and a references cited list.  The whole document should be less than four pages.

If the student is uncertain about how to prepare the Outline essay, or the way that it will be evaluated, see the information on assessment tasks in iLearn.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.
  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Final exam

Due: TBA (exam period)
Weighting: 25%

The exam will be held during the University’s examination period after the semester.  You must be available for any date scheduled by the University in this period, as only those absent for reasons beyond their control can qualify for a late exam. The precise date will be posted by the university eight weeks before the exam in draft form, and in final form approximately four weeks before the examinations commence.

The final exam is cumulative. 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.

Delivery and Resources

Anth 151x is primarily a lecture and tutorial class, with virtual remains, online materials, and other lab-based activities conducted through the online tutorials.

Technology used and required:

Students will need to have access to the iLearn section, as handouts, FAQs, video links, and a host of other resources will be available through iLearn. The online discussion sections for Anth 151 historically have been very active as students help each other to understand key concepts. The unit convenor makes extensive use of online slides, videos, Prezis, and other resources.

Readings

All readings for the unit will be available through the iLearn space for the units. Students will not be able to complete the unit without these materials. Students will also find the weekly review sheets for key concepts and additional information about assessment tasks in each weekly section of iLearn.

Lecture times

Lectures are Wednesdays from 11 to 1pm in the Lotus Theatre (W6D). Students are strongly encouraged to attend lectures, but if scheduling or unforeseen circumstances are an issue, all lectures are taped through Echo 360, and slide shows (including video links and other materials), available through iLearn. External students are welcome to attend the lecture in person if they are on campus. 

Teaching and Learning Strategy

The course as a whole is designed to convey the excitement, theoretical innovation, and new discoveries emerging in the study of human evolution.  A clearer understanding of evolutionary processes allows students to appreciate the role of evolution in shaping humans and other organisms and to better evaluate contemporary arguments that make use of evolutionary theory or research.  By the end of the unit, students should have a greater appreciation of the diversity of methods used to study human evolution, some of the most important debates within the field, and the distinctiveness of human beings among animals. 

The course provides an excellent foundation for further, more specialized study in anthropology at the 200-level, but it also provides a robust understanding of human evolution that might contribute to students’ continued study of such fields as health, psychology, politics, Aboriginal studies, and a host of other specialties. Although each week focuses roughly on a different time period in human evolution, the issues brought up in each will be extended to contemporary human life. 

For example, although the discussion of Technology in Week Eight focuses on the emergence of complex stone tools, especially the contrast between Neandertal material culture and the technology of comparable archaic Homo sapiens, we will also discussing how technological innovation affects the evolutionary development of humans up until the present. By examining how we came to be as a species, our ancestors and nearest relatives, we come to a deeper understanding of human nature itself, including the variation that exists within our species—both biological and cultural. 

Evolutionary theory is one of the most powerful explanatory mechanisms for understanding all life, but it is also prone to being abused; the thorough background provided in this unit may lead students to be more sceptical around certain types of evolutionary arguments without repudiating evolutionary theory itself. In addition, this unit on evolution and diversity provides a foundation for thinking about the relationship of culture to biology, of nature to nurture, and of psychology to social life. 

The questions posed by the origins of humanity are too big and difficult to solve with only half the evidence at our disposal, so we will become better practiced at understanding human holistically, one of the most important characteristics of anthropology. Students will do best if they realise that, to some degree, many of the key issues in the evolutionary history of our species and in the nature of our species' diversity are still subject to debate, although anthropologists and other scientists may agree on the broader outlines.

Information

Extensive support materials are provided through iLearn. Please consult iLearn with initial questions as the students are likely to find many resources there

Unit Schedule

Lecture program (please see reader or iLearn for full list of readings):

Week One: Introduction  1.1 Introduction to unit requirements 1.2 Basics of evolutionary biology

Week Two: Natural selection and genetics  2.1 Darwin on natural selection 2.2 Updating Darwin: neo-Darwinism & the genetics revolution

Week Three: Humans among primates 3.1 Primates: origin and distinctive niche 3.2 The perils of comparison: chimpanzees, for example…

Week Four: Early hominids and bipedalism 4.1 Bipedalism: why walk on two feet? 4.2 The evidence of human evolution in paleoarchaeology

Week Five: Genus Homo: brain & dietary change 5.1 Brains, human & others 5.2 How diet affects the brain: evolution & development

Week Six: Sex & reproduction 6.1 Human sexuality in evolutionary perspective 6.2 Human reproduction: is anything natural?

Week Seven: The first technology 7.1 Lithic technology: Paleolithic innovations 7.2 Fire, clothes & other human tricks: what could Neandertals do?

Week Eight: Language origins & development 8.1 The ability to communicate: do other animals talk? 8.2 Language change

Week Nine: The epic of humanity 9.1 The rise of anatomically modern humans 9.2 Getting out of Africa

Week Ten: NO MEETING! No lectures or tutorials the week of 19 October. Make sure to finish Outline Essay for submission 26 October!

Week Eleven: Food domestication and urbanisation 11.1 The Neolithic Revolution: growing our own food 11.2 The social ape & the first cities

Week Twelve: Human variation: genes, races and cultures 12.1 Modern human variation: are we all that different? 12.2 Traces of human adaptation

Week Thirteen: Is evolution over? 13.1 Do culture & technology replace selection?: genetic evidence 13.2 Future humans

Tutorial program (please see reader or iLearn for full list of readings):

Note: No meeting the first or seventh weeks!

Tutorial One: Evolutionary dynamics and adaptation  Gould, Stephen Jay, and Elisabeth S. Vrba.  1982.  ‘Exaptation—a missing term in the science of form.’  Paleobiology 8(1): 4-15.

Tutorial Two: Our nearest primate relatives: skulls, ‘culture’? ‘A Guide to the Cultures of Chimpanzees.’  From Scientific American 2001, Vol. 284.

Tutorial Three: Traces in the ash: the Laetoli footprints Laetoli footprint materials.

Tutorial Four: Food for thought: evolution, brain and diet Leonard, William R.  2003.  ‘Food for Thought: Dietary Change Was a Driving Force in Human Evolution.’  Scientific American (updated from December 2002): 62-71.

Tutorial Five: Mating strategies: the evolution dating game Small, Meredith F.  1997.  ‘Our Babies, Ourselves.’ Natural History Magazine (October):  42-51 (reprinted in Annual Editions: Anthropology 06/07, pp. 100-106) together with accompanying sidebars by LeVine et al.).

Tutorial Six: Stone tools Foley, Robert, and Marta Mirazón Lahr.  2003.  ‘On Stony Ground: Lithic Technology, Human Evolution, and the Emergence of Culture.’  Evolutionary Anthropology 12: 109-122.

Tutorial Seven: Reinventing language Diamond, Jared M.  1991.  ‘Reinvention of Human Language.’  Natural History 5/91: 22-28.  Reprinted in Through the Looking Glass: Readings in General Anthropology.  Second edition.  2000.  Pp. 26-35.

Tutorial Eight: Out of Africa Jurmain, Robert, Lynn Kilgore, and Wenda Trevathan, with Russell L. Ciochon.  2008.  The Origin and Dispersal of Modern Humans.  In Introduction to Physical Anthropology.  Eleventh edition.  Pp. 352-377.  Thomson-Wadsworth.

Tutorial Nine: Out modern ecological niche Mann, Charles.  2002.  ‘1491.’  The Atlantic Monthly (March): 1-13.

Tutorial Ten: Is race a useful concept? George W. Gill and Jonathan Marks.  1998 and 1994.  ‘Issue 1: Is Race a Useful Concept for Anthropologists?’  In Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Anthropology.  Third edition.  Kirk M. Endicott and Robert L. Welsch, eds.  Pp. 2-15.  Dubuque, Iowa: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.

Tutorial Eleven: Current selective pressures Ward, Peter.  2009.  ‘What Will Become of Homo sapiens?’ Scientific American 300 (1): 68-73.

Learning and Teaching Activities

'Australian students' understandings of evolution: an active learning approach to human evolution'

This research project explores how Australian students understand evolutionary processes through a large, online survey administered in the first week of class, and an exercise in Week 2 tutorials. The survey will be used to highlight for students how their initial concepts or understandings of evolution might not be accurate. Likewise, the exercise will help us to provide a clearer sense of how key concepts need to change. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC#5201400723-R).

'Innovations in hands-on anthropology: 3D printed bone fragments'

This Innovation and Scholarship Program grant-supported project uses 3D printed facsimile bone fragments to provide innovative workshops supporting key learning objectives. These workshops are optional and will be offered throughout the semester. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (MQ HREC#: 5201300516).

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.
  • Actively participate in group discussions and examinations of material related to human evolution (such as facsimile remains, site surveys, and material culture).

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Weekly Online Quizzes
  • Outline essay
  • Final exam

Learning and teaching activities

  • This research project explores how Australian students understand evolutionary processes through a large, online survey administered in the first week of class, and an exercise in Week 2 tutorials. The survey will be used to highlight for students how their initial concepts or understandings of evolution might not be accurate. Likewise, the exercise will help us to provide a clearer sense of how key concepts need to change. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC#5201400723-R).
  • This Innovation and Scholarship Program grant-supported project uses 3D printed facsimile bone fragments to provide innovative workshops supporting key learning objectives. These workshops are optional and will be offered throughout the semester. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (MQ HREC#: 5201300516).

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Outline essay

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.
  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Weekly Online Quizzes
  • Outline essay
  • Final exam

Learning and teaching activities

  • This research project explores how Australian students understand evolutionary processes through a large, online survey administered in the first week of class, and an exercise in Week 2 tutorials. The survey will be used to highlight for students how their initial concepts or understandings of evolution might not be accurate. Likewise, the exercise will help us to provide a clearer sense of how key concepts need to change. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC#5201400723-R).
  • This Innovation and Scholarship Program grant-supported project uses 3D printed facsimile bone fragments to provide innovative workshops supporting key learning objectives. These workshops are optional and will be offered throughout the semester. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (MQ HREC#: 5201300516).

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.
  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Actively participate in group discussions and examinations of material related to human evolution (such as facsimile remains, site surveys, and material culture).
  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Weekly Online Quizzes
  • Outline essay
  • Final exam

Learning and teaching activities

  • This research project explores how Australian students understand evolutionary processes through a large, online survey administered in the first week of class, and an exercise in Week 2 tutorials. The survey will be used to highlight for students how their initial concepts or understandings of evolution might not be accurate. Likewise, the exercise will help us to provide a clearer sense of how key concepts need to change. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC#5201400723-R).
  • This Innovation and Scholarship Program grant-supported project uses 3D printed facsimile bone fragments to provide innovative workshops supporting key learning objectives. These workshops are optional and will be offered throughout the semester. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (MQ HREC#: 5201300516).

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Improve students' ability to employ theoretical concepts, evidence, and analysis in general by specifically exercising these abilities on the materials covered in this unit.
  • Actively participate in group discussions and examinations of material related to human evolution (such as facsimile remains, site surveys, and material culture).

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Weekly Online Quizzes
  • Outline essay
  • Final exam

Learning and teaching activities

  • This Innovation and Scholarship Program grant-supported project uses 3D printed facsimile bone fragments to provide innovative workshops supporting key learning objectives. These workshops are optional and will be offered throughout the semester. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (MQ HREC#: 5201300516).

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Provide a clear sense of how paleoanthropologists conduct research and draw conclusions about extinct species and ways of life from material evidence.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Weekly Online Quizzes
  • Outline essay
  • Final exam

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.
  • Help them to understand, evaluate, and employ evolution-based explanations for contemporary features of human life, anatomy, and behaviour, including the limits on those explanations.
  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Weekly Online Quizzes
  • Outline essay
  • Final exam

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Introduce students to certain key concepts and theories in the study of human evolution including the most important debates and new developments in the field.

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Weekly Online Quizzes
  • Final exam

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Analyze and express your judgement about significant debates in the study of human evolution.

Assessment tasks

  • Online Tutorials
  • Literature Review
  • Outline essay

Learning and teaching activities

  • This research project explores how Australian students understand evolutionary processes through a large, online survey administered in the first week of class, and an exercise in Week 2 tutorials. The survey will be used to highlight for students how their initial concepts or understandings of evolution might not be accurate. Likewise, the exercise will help us to provide a clearer sense of how key concepts need to change. The research project is approved under MQ Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC#5201400723-R).

Changes from Previous Offering

The unit is largely the same as the version offered with high student satisfaction in 2015. A new assessment task -- weekly quizzes -- has replaced a previous assessment task that caused some confusion with students (and is no longer technically supported at Macquarie University). A new online textbook is currently under production for 2017, and drafts of this resource will be available for students for some weeks. 

Perhaps most importantly, for the first time, a second convenor has been added to the teaching staff: Dr. Paul Mason has joined the Department of Anthropology, and his background and research make him an ideal person to teach with Prof. Greg Downey. The students should benefit both from his breadth of knowledge and skill as a lecturer and teacher, but also from the simple fact of having more energy and enthusiasm than the current, worn-out convenor (joking!).