ANTH 2010 Introduction to Physical Anthropology 1

Instructor Contact:

Jonathan A. O’Brien, Ph.D.


About the Course:

In this class we review the development of modern evolutionary theory so that we can understand the natural history of humans and our closest relatives, the non-human primates. We survey modern primate diversity focusing on adaptation. The social organization and behavior of some of our closest relatives are reviewed so that we can understand how humans are distinctive. We also review the fossil record that provides a detailed record of our natural history. We use some of the earliest know primate fossils to review how scientists reconstruct the behavior of extinct creatures. We use some of the earliest know monkey-like fossils to review how scientists reconstruct past environments and we use the earliest apes to review how scientists develop detailed hypotheses about evolutionary relationships among extinct and extant creatures. In the final third of the course we take a close look at the fossil record as it bears on human evolution highlighting the first appearance of a series of distinctive human attributes.


After completing this course students should be able to:

  1. Define and describe the Development of Evolutionary Theory
  2. Understand the Reconstruction of Primate and Human Evolution
  3. Summarize Extant and Extinct Primate Ecology

Required Texts:

Exploring Biological Anthropology: the Essentials (3rd Edition) by Craig Stanford, John Allen, and Susan Antón.

Grading and Exams:

  • 3 Exams: 50%
  • 14 Quizzes: 20%
  • 10 Discussion posts: 30%
  • Total: 100%

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado