Apr 15, 2024  
College Catalog 2022-2023 
College Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANTH 1200 - Introduction to Physical Anthropology

Credit Hours: 4.00

Prerequisites: None

This course is an introduction to the areas of work and techniques employed by physical anthropologists. Topics of interest for this study will be population genetics, the taxonomy of the human, primate similarities and behaviors, fossil evidence, human evolution, human migrations, and current issues. This class will explore the role of humans in the animal world, as well as a member of society.

Billable Contact Hours: 4

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will identify the evolutionary milestones of the history of the human species and the rise of cultural, human-type behaviors.


  1. Know the fossil evidence available for our hominid ancestors and what behaviors are shown through that evidence.
  2. Understand the development of fossilized remains; how fossilization occurs, what conditions are necessary, what paleoanthropologists discover.
  3. Analyze the inferred behaviors of early hominids and the rise of behaviors classified as human, such as cooking, tool making, hunting, burying the dead, caring for the sick and elderly, the rise of religion, the creation of art.

Outcome 2: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to identify the biological aspects of genetic diversity among populations of people.


  1. Identify DNA, from Chromosome to Gene to Allele to Chemical Base Pairs and use the proper terminology to refer to the processes of meiosis and mitosis.
  2. Describe and discuss the methods through which genetic material is transferred from individual to individual.
  3. Describe and discuss the methods through which genetic material is transferred from population to population: Mutation, Natural Selection, Genetic Drift or Gene Flow.

OUTCOME 3: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to explain ethical issues arising from modern scientific advances as well as religion based belief systems.


  1. Discuss why Evolution is a Creation Story and understand the cosmological basis for various ideas of where humankind came from.
  2. Identify social problems arising from the current state of scientific knowledge - - the Human Genome Project conclusions, Stem Cell Ethics, the possible futures of evolution for humans.
  3. Describe and discuss the current issues of primate study and testing. (Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and other primatologists)
  4. Describe and discuss the social and biological issues facing primates in the wild.

Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, students will examine the anthropological belief that homo-sapiens is a member of the animal kingdom.


  1. Recognize the characteristics of the various taxonomic categories that apply to homo-sapiens.
  2. Identify the animal behaviors and physical characteristics that show similarities and differences from humankind.
  3. Identify primate species and define the concept of common ancestor.
  4. Analyze primate behaviors to attempt to define the separation (if so determined) between animal and human life.

Outcome 5: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to apply critical thinking skills to anthropological issues through the use of analytic reasoning techniques.


  1. Analyze and evaluate scientific evidence from fossils, laboratories, and academia through written and verbal reports.
  2. Interpret data and formulate informed opinions through research and report production comparing and contrasting taxonomic categories.
  3. Identify and discuss the changing role of forensic anthropologist in today’s society.

• Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
• Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
• Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
• Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
• Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
• Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.

CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Communication: YES
Critical Thinking: YES
Global Literacy: YES
Quantitative Reasoning: YES

  1. Week One: What is Physical Anthropology? Why do we consider this a science?
  2. Week Two: The Background for Evolution. Darwin and his predecessors.
  3. Week Three: Evolutionary Genetics. How Traits are Inherited.
  4. Week Four: The Processes of Evolution. Population Genetics.
    Mutation, Natural Selection, Gene Flow, Genetic Drift
  5. Week Five: The Origin of Species and Catastrophic Extinctions
  6. Week Six: Geologic Behaviors (Continental Drift). Chronology of Evolution.
  7. Week Seven: The Primates. Physical Aspects
  8. Week Eight: The Primates - Social Aspects
  9. Week Nine: The Evidence for Human Evolution - Fossils, Molecular Clock,
    Creation Stories and Ethics
  10. Week Ten: The Earliest Hominids. Bipedalism.
  11. Week Eleven: The Rise of the Species “Homo”. Homo Habilis, Erectus, Neanderthal, Sapiens.
  12. Week Twelve: Modern Human Adaptations. Population Variation. Disease.
  13. Week Thirteen: Human Biological Diversity - Sex and Gender. Race.
  14. Week Fourteen: Forensic Anthropology / Biological Archaeology
  15. Week Fifteen: Modern Ethical Issues

Primary Faculty
Meier, Mary
Secondary Faculty

Associate Dean
Williams-Chehmani, Angie
Pritchett, Marie

Official Course Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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