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ANTH 101 Human Origins

What is evolution and how does it differ from common beliefs about human origins? Students investigate the evolution of humans and other primates, and the cultural and biological adaptations of modern humans to their environments. The course explores a variety of topics including: the origins of language and culture, fossil evidence for primate and hominid evolution, and human biological variation. Students also examine contemporary debates about human origins.
3 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 1, 1998 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Ability to explain the general processes of evolution, including the particular stages of human evolution and the adaptive strategies used by humans and non-human primates.
  • Ability to describe the basic institutional arrangements that humans have developed to cope with particular environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Development of critical thinking skills needed to analyze and evaluate contemporary debates on the interrelationships between the environment, culture, and evolution.
  • Knowledge and understanding of key concepts, methodologies, current theories of human origins and the relationships between biology and culture.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the complex relationship between the environment and human cultural adaptations.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 10: People and the Environment

  • Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
  • Discern patterns and interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
  • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
  • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.