ANTA01H3F Intro Anthro: Becoming Human
LECTURE 1: September 3
Important comments regarding the syllabus:
o If you are sick, get a note to the professor as quickly as possible, so she can shift the weight of the
assignment or midterm to the final exam.
o Important to stay on top of the readings th
o SCHEDULE CHANGES: Class 10 & 11: The video is now on November 5 , and the lecture on
homosapiens is now on November 12 .
o MIDTERM: October 22 in clasth
o ESSAY DUE: November 19 in class
o FINAL EXAM: Cumulative! Not essay format, will be multiple choice
o All course information will be on Blackboard/Portal, not Intranet
What is Anthropology?
o Oxford: ―The study of humankind, in particular‖
o Typically a four-field discipline: Biological Anthro (also referred to as physical/evolutionary Anthro),
Archaeology, Social/Cultural Anthro, and Linguistics
Archaeology – the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the
analysis of artefacts and other physical remains. The common misconception about archeologists
is that they run through tombs (like Indiana Jones). There are several different subcategories of
archaeology, such as maritime, historical, monumental, and Palaeolithic/cave
Biological Anthro – the science of human zoology, evolution, and ecology. Common
conceptions include dusting off bones, like in ―CSI‖ and ―Bones‖ in the media. Subcategories
include bioarchaeology, bog bodies, paleoanthropology (fossil species of our ancestors—we will
focus on this a lot throughout the course), and primatology (apes)
Social/Cultural Anthro – comparative study of human societies & cultures, & their development
Linguistics – the scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of
morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. Subcategories include sociolinguistics, and
applied linguistics. A key point to be made from this course is the importance of language in
differentiating us from all other species on the planet
What can you expect from ANTA01?
o Next week we will start with evolution and genetics
o We are required to learn the mechanisms and processes of evolution (next week‘s learning goals)
o We will look at archaeological methods, and learn how to be skeptical when we read things in the media
o We will look at primates (their locomotion, which can be identified in their skeletons; kinship systems)
o We will learn the three main features that differentiate us from apes (humans are really just apes who
stood on two legs [became bipedal], we began using tools, and our brains have become much bigger)
o We will look at the origins of tools
o We will then look at our ancestors: Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis
o Toward the end of the class, we will learn about what it means to be a homo sapien, and culture
o We will learn about the origins of agriculture (positive and negative aspects)
o We will end the class with the development of complex civilizations
o In this class, we will focus heavily on the scientific framework that accompanies human origins
o Creation myths are written by those who are in power (they tell you what they want you to hear—usually
start with a supernatural creator). We won‘t focus on these, we will go by what can be proven by science LECTURE 2: September 10
Concepts: Evolution and Human Origins
Brainstorming in class – what is evolution, how does it work?
o Natural selection, change in frequency of genetics, environmental pressures, mutations, adapting to the
environment, sexual selection, survival of the fittest, cell division, variation, evolution works on
populations/species (not individuals)
What is a species?
o A group of individuals that can breed together and have viable and fertile offspring
o Example: donkeys and horses can mate to make mules, but mules are not fertile (cannot mate with other
mules). Another example: Ligers (cannot reproduce with other ligers)
o Within the species, they may be quite similar in appearance (like with deer, they all look similar), or they
might look quite different (like dogs)
o They may all live in one part of the world (like polar bears) or in many parts of the world (whales)
o Share behavioural traits relating to social groups, food preferences, productive strategies, etc.
EX—giraffes (coming from east Africa, or south Africa, and they have very specific mating
rituals) even though they are genetically identical they do not reproduce
o Species also distinguish between members of their own species and other species
o Where do humans stand?
For the basic definition of a species, all dogs are like humans—even though we have great
variation within our genetic structure, we are still capable of reproducing fertile offspring
Darwin – 1859:
o Was a very devout Christian himself, originally went to school to become a reverend, but decided to
change his path. He went on a voyage that convinced him that the story of the Bible did not happen in
reality (it was not accurate). He was afraid of publishing his work because of the criticism it would
receive. His first book, The Origin of Species, did not discuss human evolution. His second book did,
called On the Descent of Man, but he did not allow it to be published until after his death.
o Everyone believed the story of Genesis: God created the earth, all men, all animals and all technology
within six days. Darwin began to question this, he did not believe that everything was created in six days
o James Ussher (1581-1656) also questioned this. He wanted to figure out how old the world really was—
he calculated all of the generations in the Bible and worked out that the origin of the earth according to
the Bible was October 23 4004 BC. (Now we know that earth has really been around for 7-8 billion yrs)
George Cuvier put forth the concept of ―Catastrophists‖, entailing that global/violent catastrophes
must have occurred to explain canyons, mountains, etc. (Still believed earth was 6000 yrs old)
Another clergyman, Reverend Burnet, voiced that we can actually see the process of erosion in
action, and it is a slow process (not catastrophic). No one took him on, and he stopped pursuing it
Uniformitarianism: the processes that exist on the planet today, also likely existed in the
Buffon, French academic, said ―to learn about the earth, study the earth‖. He believed
that processes are known, natural, and observable: 6 epochs. He originally thought that it
might be over a long period of time, but he was bullied into fitting the 6 epochs into the
span of 6000 years
Hutton published later on that the world was slow working, and based on uniform and
natural processes. He was the first one to declare that the world was really hundreds of
thousands of years old.
It was Lyell who was first to prove that the world was very old, by measuring the
deposition rates of the Mississippi Delta. ―The present is the key to the past‖
Revered Chalmer, another clergyman, stated that maybe Ussher was wrong, not the Bible o At the same time...
Carolus Linneus (1758) known for categorizing the world‘s plants and animals into 7 basic layers
Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
More importantly, he developed the binomial system—homo sapiens. This is important
because he included humans into this classification
Also famous for comparative anatomy [see figure drawing on the slide]—primitive trait
of having five fingers
o Adding to the fire...
This was a period of colonization, during which people were exposed to new people and tribes
who are not mentioned in the Bible. These ―new‖ people were treated as though they were not
part of human society. People did not know what to make of them because they were not
mentioned in the Bible.
We also found stone tools [see slide for picture], which people were confused about as well
because the Bible says that technology/tools began later
o Life on Earth had changed
This was the conclusion of the Enlightenment period—people were beginning to realize the
changes that existed throughout time (fossils, extinct animals)
Also started to understand the concept of strata and stratigraphy
By the 1800‘s, the question changed to How did the Earth and species change?
o The academic Lamarck came up with the ideas that:
We adapt to the environment
We progress towards perfection (as though every worm evolves into humans, and humans evolve
into angels)—this is not true. There is no ―end goal‖
Inheritance of acquired characteristics – EX: the giraffes (see slide). He proposed that giraffes
with short necks could stretch their necks until they could reach the leaves, and then their
offspring would be born with longer necks. This is untrue! This is like saying that your child
will be born with the same tattoos that you have (they are acquired characteristics)
o Darwin and Wallace (Mechanism of natural selection)
They came up with natural selection—variation already exists between individuals of the same
species, and allows for adaption to changes in the environment. That is to say, when there are
changes in the environment, there may be some members of the species who are already better
suited to adapt to the changes.
Survival of the fittest and sexual selection—those individuals that are by chance best adapted to
an environment will have higher reproductive success
This increases the frequency of that trait within the species and population. Most importantly,
these variations are random and there is no direction to them.
o See in the textbook (Case Study: Grant & Grant 2002)
He recorded the differences in the finches that he found across the islands, and determined that
their beaks were shaped differently based on what they were eating.
Over time, the bugs they ate were extinct and the finches that ate seeds were better able to adapt
to the change and therefore were more reproductively successful. Once the bugs came back, the
females went back to choosing the finches that succeeded on an insect diet. This is evidence that
there is no end goal
Darwin‘s finches show that change occurs as an adaptation to a changing local environment.
Change works on the variation of traits already present in a population. There is no direction.
o Natural selection:
Favourable variations promote survival of the individuals in whom they appear
Traits are inherited by their offspring, whose chances of survival are also better
Favourable variations eventually spread through the population Unfavourable variations don‘t promote survival
May cause the individuals to die at an early age
May reduce the fertility of bearers, who have few offspring
Either way, unfavourable variations tend to be removed from the population
For any species, natural forces act to favour the expansion of some traits and to favour the
removal of other traits from future generations.
What is evolution and natural selection working on?
Processes? – Mutation, genetic flow, and genetic drift
Gregor Mendel (1822-1884):
o Monk in Austria (he published a paper at the same time Darwin and Wallace were trying to figure out
genetics but they never got a chance to read each other‘s work)
o He had breeding experiments with pea plants.
o Traits in offspring are not passed solely by either parent (parents have an equal opportunity to pass along
their genetic traits). Traits are passed in small, independent ―packages‖ from both parents
We call these packages ―genes‖
He determined this all through experiments with pea plants
o Mendel‘s breeding program:
Cross bred green peas with green peas = offspring of any generation always had green peas
Cross bred yellow peas with green peas = all offspring plants1(f generation) bore green peas
Cross bred green offspring (f generation) = some of their offspring plants (f generation) had
green peas and some had yellow peas.
Ratio of green to yellow plants in2f generation was always 3:1 [See punnett square]
The colour of green is dominant, the colour of yellow is recessive
Each observed trait derives from a package of information (gene) acquired by the individual at
conception. For each trait, an individual possesses two genes: one from each parent
Two matching genes (Homozygous state): for a given trait, individual receives the same
gene form from parents [green and green]
Heterozygous state: individual receives two different gene forms from parents [green and
The whole set of different forms for a given gene are called alleles
Mendel‘s peas were extremely simplified alleles (only green and yellow)
Dominant genes are always expressed in the individual who carries them [green peas]
Recessive genes are overpowered by a dominant gene, if one is present, and not
expressed [yellow peas]. Only expressed of they are homozygous (no dominant gene
present). Recessive genes are as likely to be passed to offspring as are dominant genes,
even though their presence may be unknown to the observer.
During reproduction, each individual (you) creates a gamete (egg or sperm) which
consists of half of your genes (Meiosis)
o The probability of a gene passing on from your mother/father is 50%
o Dominant genes don‘t have any dominance in this process; recessive genes are
equally likely. We just can‘t predict which gene will be passed on
Other examples of simple traits: thumb dominance, Darwin‘s tubercle, hair whorl, tongue curling,
ear wax colour
Genotype: all the genes that make up an individual
The genotype represents our real genetic structure, or DNA
Phenotype: all of the genes that are expressed (the visible individual) The expression of genetic dominance +
Physical changes caused by events in the individuals life
The phenotype is what we actually see
Genome: the entire range of alleles in a species; the gene pool
Most physical traits represent complex associations of several different genes.
Gene complexes often include genes on completely different chromosomes. Some genes can be
co-dominant—blend together rather than dominating or submitting (like hair colour).
Sometimes, the nature of one gene determine the dominance or recessivity of another
DNA & Genes:
o DNA is a double helix
o Genetic code is made up of four different bases
Adenine, Guanine, Thymine, and Cytosine (A-T and C-G only)
o Group of three bases = Codon
o Genes are a sequence of Codons, like sentences on a DNA string
o DNA is located in our chromosomes
o Genes are organized in DNA and wound as strings within chromosomes
Chromosomes are paired
One comes from each parent
Matching locations on paired chromosomes are alleles of a single gene
o Humans have 46 chromosomes in all—23 pairs (23 from each parent)
2 sex chromosomes (22 paired autosomes)
X: Largest chromosome in any mammalian cell. Lots of genetic information
Y: Smallest chromosome in any mammalian cell. Very little genetic information
Combination of sex chromosomes influence physical sex characteristics of individual:
o XX: female
o XY: male (males are more prone to colour blindness, hemophilia, etc.)
Source of variation—Mutation, Flow and Drift
Mutations (advantageous, deleterious, or neutral)
o Random mechanical errors during DNA synthesis—sickle cell anemia
o Chemical pollutants
o Cosmic nuclear radiation
o Mutations are not always negative, they can be beneficial
o If people split into Demes, separate breeding populations (due to social or environmental purposes) they
will have undergone some natural selection
EX about the population splitting in two due to a river separating us...
o If two demes start to interbreed, then new genetic material is introduced or flows into both gene pools
o Offspring will have new genetic combinations
o Gene Flow acts to homogenize populations, preventing speciation
o Individual Demes—Fission
o Founder effect
In a small population, there may be only a few individuals who possess a particular gene
If these individuals don‘t hav