Introduction to Biological Anthropology - Spring 2014

Course: Anth 1020, 6 hours/week, 4 semester units in life science (includes laboratory) 3 hours lecture/week, 3 hours lab/week. Science Building, Room 7-122, Tu/Th 9:00-11:50
Instructor: Ken Goehring (rhymes with "herring")
Contact: Please contact me through email at or visit me before or after class. Note that all of the class information, including this handout, can be found online at We can also arrange a meeting if we need more time.

Textbook and Materials: We will be using: Essentials of Physical Anthropology, by Clark Spencer Larsen, 2nd edition. This text is in the bookstore and is also available in an electronic version. In addition to the text, you will want a standard binder to hold the class syllabus and lab work. You'll need access to a computer and the internet and be able to make hard copy printouts of homework and papers. COS provides computer facilities (other than wireless guest access to the internet) only by enrolling in certain classes.

Advisories: Advisories: Math 0830 (Pre-Algebra) and Engl 1001 (English Composition, or concurrent enrollment.) We will apply computational methods to a number of problems and a working knowledge of basic math is assumed. Knowledge of algebra is desired, but not required. Written lab reports and homework assignments will require English skills.

Objectives of the Course

Upon successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

  • distinguish between a scientific approach and all other approaches to knowledge
  • identify the major hominin finds and relate their importance in our understanding of human evolution.
  • explain how fossils and archeological sites are dated, including the theory and problems with each technique.
  • explain the modern concept of genetics--including population genetics--and its role in evolutionary theory.
  • explain the various mechanisms of human evolution and the data that support them.
  • defend or refute statements that are made concerning the nature of the evidence for human evolution.
  • analyze fossil skull replicas for evidence of evolutionary change in the human lineage
  • demonstrate a working knowledge of the mechanisms of evolution.
  • compare and contrast members of the Order Primata in terms of structure, behavior, geography and phylogeny.
  • describe employment opportunities in the field of Biological Anthropology

Student Learning Outcomes

  • calculate probablilities of outcomes of Mendelian genetic problems.
  • extrapolate and interpolate human variation data.
  • calculate gene, genotype and phenotype frequencies given appropriate population genetic data.
  • calculate estimated dates of artifacts given Carbon-14 readings.
  • calculate estimated dates of virtual wood samples by applying denrdrochronology.
  • solve forensic problems given DNA data.
  • identify the gender of a human skeleton with reasonable accuracy.
  • identify paleolithic, mesolithic and neolithic tool types based on manufacturing techniques.

Requirements and Grading

I expect you to attend class, do the reading assignments and bring questions to class to be discussed.  Grades are determined by points earned . The breakdown will be as follows:

Item Weight Notes
 150 points   (25%)

  5 @ 30 points each, see the Late Work Policy below. There are no make-ups for these crucial assignments.
 Quizzes  200 points  (33%)
  4 @ 50 points each, announced on the calendar and provided with study guides
  Note: The last quiz will be given during our Final Exam date/time which is:

 Tuesday, May 20, at 10:00 am
  Final Exam Schedule
 Specimen ID Quiz
 35 points (6%)
  Tuesday, May 20, at 10:00 am
 Lab Book of Reports  225 points
  15 @ 15 points each (146 points are required to pass the class) Note: 15 lab reports will be counted, 16 labs will be given.
 610 points (100%)
Grades will be assigned (at a minimum) in accordance with the following scale :
90%+ = A, 80%+ = B, 70%+ = C, 60%+ = D, 59%- = F 

You can always access your grades online at: You'll be provided a user name and password to access your grades.
Note: Any student with less than 65% of the graded  points by January 27 (First Census) will be given an "U"nsatisfactory.
Note: Any student with less than 146 points (~65%) of the 225 possible points earned under "Lab" above will receive a failing grade, regardless of other points.

Honesty : I expect and demand integrity and honesty in all of our dealings. I will not tolerate cheating on quizzes, homework, or any other form of dishonesty. People who violate this trust will be dropped from the class and will receive an F, regardless of points earned.

Attendance Policy : I expect people to attend class, to be on time if possible, to come in quietly if late. I reserve the right to drop any student that has missed two class meetings or two assignments without contacting me. In the event of dangerous weather, arrangements will be made to make-up postponed work. If the roads are unsafe, please don't risk your life to come to class. Check the COS website for school closure. Visit the class website when the weather is bad. I will post class updates on the web. Sign up for AlertU on the COS Homepage.

Late Work Policy : There are no make-ups for missed quizzes. If you have a school-sponsored event during quiz periods, you must contact me a week before the quiz is given. If you can't attend on a quiz day, please send word to me through email.  Generally there are no make-ups on missed lab work. Lab reports are due as announced and will be reduced 10% for being late. I will not accept any late work after I hand the assignment back. This is almost always at the beginning of the next class meeting.

Classroom Rules and Etiquette : There are a few rules that must be followed in this class. They are:   1) no food or eating in the classroom.  2) all electronic devices (eg. cell phones, tablets and computers) must be turned off and put away during lecture. If you are a care giver your phone can be on silent call.  In lab, all but ringing cell phones are allowed.  3) Please do not chat with your neighbors during lectures.   4) be courteous and polite at all times. Failure to follow these rules will result in a warning. Failure to follow the warning will result in being dropped from the class. 
Special Assistance: The College of the Siskiyous has many services available to students who need special assistance. See the College Catalog for a description of these services. If you feel that you will need any special assistance in this class, please indicate this on the first day information sheet that I will collect and please discuss the situation with me within the first two weeks of class so that I can make plans to accommodate your needs.
Note: The topics covered in this course include the concept of organic evolution, specifically, evidence for human evolution, and includes discussion of the scientific view of the origin of humans. We will also be discussing human and other primate sexuality, the AIDS virus, mental retardation, rape, forensics and other disturbing topics. Grading is based on the demonstrated understanding of the concepts, not on belief or views towards such concepts and topics. The class will present mainstream scientific views on these issues, but will highlight differences with popular views.