Faculty of Arts

ANTHRO 726 A & B

Advanced Biological Anthropology


This course gives students an opportunity to critically read, debate and thoughtfully evaluate some of the most important issues in biological anthropology including evolutionary theory as it applies to humans, paying particular attention to theoretical perspectives, the hypotheses generated from them and the various assumptions and evidence underpinning debates, past and current.  

This course provides you with a broad understanding of a range of perspectives in biological anthropology and we are open to your suggestions. However, we will start with the texts most frequently cited - and never read - Darwin and Wallace.

By the end of the course we expect that students will:

  • Understand a number of the most important theoretical perspectives and concepts relevant to our subdiscipline. Among these are macro- and microevolution, speciation, natural selection, adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, the extended evolutionary synthesis, biocultural frameworks, political economy and life-history theory
  • Understand and be familiar with key historical developments in the discipline

And will have gained these skills:

  • Ability to identify and thoughtfully evaluate hypotheses derived from various theories
  • Ability to recognise strengths and weaknesses or limitations to various arguments and be able to suggest what more could usefully be done to resolve disagreements or uncertainties
  • Ability to demonstrate effective library research skills including being able to track arguments and ideas both backwards and forwards
  • Ability to formulate and organise a logical written argument
  • Ability to give and respond to constructive comment on both written and oral work through oral participation in the class and responding to draft comments in written work
  • Ability to present opinions and work orally to a small group and participate in such discussions

Employability skills

  • Analysis: can identify an issue and research it thoroughly and systematically with an eye to identifying issues and future needs.
  • Writing: able to translate complicated ideas into coherent and concise prose, developing a logical argument.
  • Communication: able to engage thoughtfully in debate and discussion as well as present the results of your own work orally.
  • Workplace: able to work as part of a group listening carefully and exchanging ideas and comments in a constructive fashion.

To complete this course students must enrol in ANTHRO 726 A and B, or ANTHRO 726.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2019

Semester 1 and 2 (full year)


Coordinator(s) Dr Heather Battles

Recommended Reading

For those less familiar with the current debates in human evolution:

Fuentes, A.  Evolution of Human Behaviour Oxford: OUP (2009)


Dunbar, R.  Human Evolution, A Pelican Introduction. Penguin, UK (2014)


ANTHRO 726A: 15.0 points

ANTHRO 726B: 15.0 points


ANTHRO 710, 751, 752

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