September 11, 2012.
Lecture 1 – Intro to Nature of Humans
Who, what, where, when, why, and how?
What is anthropology?
What does it mean to be human?
How do humans fit in the natural world?
Evolution and how it works
Living non-human primates
o Characteristics, adaptations, behaviour, conservation
Evolution of the human lineage
Humans as primates and our role in the natural world
What is anthropology?
The molecular basis of life
Heredity and evolution
Film: “Evolution: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”
QUIZ 1 (15%)
What is a primate?
Overview of the living primates
TEST 1 (20%)
Primates as models for human evolution
Primate evolutionary history
Reconstructing early hominin behaviour and ecology
Homo erectus and contemporaries
QUIZ 2 (15%)
Modern human biology: variation
Modern human biology: adaptation
The human life course
Human impact on the planet
FINAL EXAM (30%)
What is Anthropology?
My definition: The objective study of humans and their biological, cultural, and historical
evolution and current contexts. Anthropos = “man”
Logos = “study”
The study of humankind everywhere, throughout time
Accounts for evolutionary and cultural factors
EXAMPLE: Digestion of Lactose
o Study in 1960s finds African American children rarely drank milk
o Thought the cause might be lack of money to buy it or lack of education to know milk
should be drank
o Societies/communities that keep milk-bearing animals do not drink fresh milk and will
sour it into cheese or yoghurt first
o Fact is many humans lack an enzyme called lactase which breaks down lactose into a
more digestible form (glucose and galactose)
When, where, and why humans appeared on Earth?
How and why they have changed since then
o Whether biological or cultural
How and why modern human populations vary in certain features
o (biological features)
How and why societies in past and present vary in customary ideas and practices
o Lifestyles, cultures, traditions, living situations, etc.
History of Anthropology
Originated within the context of Western civilization
o Started with ability to travel far
Ability to travel to far off places – interest in people radically different
Realization that all people share a basic humanity – interest in human diversity
In Canada: th th
o Began in 18 and 19 centuries
o Development influences by museums, academic departments, and applied research
o E.g. Father Joseph-Francois Lafitau
Spent time living with the Iroquois
First to give first-hand information and scholarly publications of the plants,
animals and people of the region
Takes a multifaceted approach to the study of humans
o Might look at family life, environment (abiotic and biotic), diet, leisure activities, etc.
o Cultural/Social Anthropology
o Linguistic Anthropology
Historical linguistics Structural linguistics
o Physical/Biological Anthropology
Global patterns of belief and behaviour found in human cultures in both the past and the
Humans as a culture-making species
Roots in early 19 century
What is Culture?
Unconscious standards by which societies operate
Socially learned sta