BIO A 370 A: Introduction to Primates

Meeting Time: 
to be arranged
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Syllabus Description:

Instructor: Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel

Winter 2019


Email: For course related questions:

   1) First check to see if the answer is in the syllabus or on our Canvas course website

    2) Use the course Discussion Forum to ask general questions so the rest of the class can benefit

    3) Only use email for personal questions you don’t want others to see or which would not be of interest             to other students (

     4)Be sure to use good email etiquette (refer to the end of this syllabus)


BioA370 has traditionally been taught as a face to face course where students are exposed, via a lecture format, to a comprehensive review of living nonhuman primate taxonomy, morphology, natural history and distribution. Throughout the course topics such as conservation, ethnoprimatology, disease transmission, field research, and the role that nonhuman primates play in different cultures around the world are highlighted.

Now BioA370 is being offered as a direct learning course (aka online course). My goal is to take advantage of the diverse learning tools available in Canvas to introduce students to the extraordinary world of nonhuman primates. As a Primatologist I am keenly aware of the importance of relationships and developing community and have built into the online course ways for us to connect even though we will not be sharing a physical classroom. 

Online Office Hours: Monday and Friday 1:00-3:00pm. You will be able to reliably reach me during these hours via email. If necessary we can also set up a time to talk by phone during my office hours. You may also email me outside of my scheduled office hours, but I can not guarantee a prompt response.

Required Text: Primate Adaptation & Evolution 3rd Ed. John G. Fleagle. Academic Press

Additional Materials: There may be additional readings posted in the Modules as pdf files during the course.

Introduction to Primates is a comprehensive review of living nonhuman primate taxonomy, morphology, natural history and distribution.  Throughout the course topics such as conservation, ethnoprimatology, disease transmission, field research, and the role that nonhuman primates play in different cultures around the world are highlighted. This is the third time BioA 370 Intro to Primates has been offered as an online course. We have worked out several of the technological kinks, but I am still anticipating that there will be a few bumps along the way as I navigate this novel home range... I will appreciate your patience.

LEARNING OUTCOMES  Upon successful completion of this course, you will have:

  • A working knowledge of primate taxonomy which will allow you to recognize primates and identify their Suborder, Infraorder, Family, Genus and Species according Fleagle’s (see assigned text) taxonomy
  • Ability to comprehend core concepts in the distribution, morphology, social organization, behavior, and reproduction of primates
  • The capacity to discuss and analyze major themes in current primatology as they relate to the species/genera reviewed in this course.
  • Able to distinguish how conservation, ethics, and humans’ relationships with primates play important roles in any primatological study


1. Study the readings and power point lectures found in each week's online Modules

2. Complete the reading/lecture comprehension quizzes

3. Complete your Taxonomy Reports using the resources in the course Library Guide and submit them every Monday and Wednesday

4. Engage in community building by discussing the graded weekly Taxonomy Highlights.

5. Use the course Library Guide to find videos for your weekly Video Journals that are due each Friday.


ACCOMMODATIONS: Please let me know as early as possible how I can best support your learning style.

ACCOUNTABILITY TO HIGH ACADEMIC STANDARDS: Please know that in all the courses that I teach, whether face-to-face or online, I hold you and myself to the highest academic standard because I care about you and your education. Honest, ethical conduct are integral components of the academic process. An environment of academic integrity is requisite to respect for self and others and a civil community. Academic integrity includes a commitment to not engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception.  Such acts of dishonesty include cheating or copying, plagiarizing, submitting another persons’ work as one’s own, using Internet sources without citation, taking or having another student take your exam/quiz or working together with other students on your exam/quizzes, tampering with the work of another student, facilitating other students’ acts of academic dishonesty, etc.

Unless I specify otherwise, all assignments and examinations are to be completed by the student alone, without inappropriate assistance of any kind.

Students who are found to be dishonest will receive academic sanctions, such as an “F” grade on the assignment, exam, and/or in the course.  They will also be reported to the University of Washington’s Community Standards and Student Conduct for possible further disciplinary action.  


INCLUSIVITY: We understand that our members represent a rich variety of backgrounds and perspectives. The University of Washington’s Anthropology program/department is committed to providing an atmosphere for learning that respects diversity. While working together to build this community we ask all members to:

  • share their unique experiences, values and beliefs
  • be open to the views of others
  • honor the uniqueness of their colleagues
  • appreciate the opportunity that we have to learn from each other in this community
  • value each other’s opinions and communicate in a respectful manner
  • keep confidential discussions that the community has of a personal (or professional) nature
  • use this opportunity together to discuss ways in which we can create an inclusive environment in this course and across the University of Washington community


Weekly primate taxonomy reports: Depending upon who you ask there are more than 600 species of primates! During this course we will only be able to discuss a small percentage of these extraordinary animals. In order for you to get exposure to the primate diversity that is spread across Central and South America, Africa and Asia you will need to do some research. Twice a week you will complete a Taxonomy report using the Google form that is linked to each assignment in the Modules. The form asks you to provide the:

Common name; Suborder; Infraorder; Family; Genus; species; natural range (geographic distribution) locomotion type;  and 2 interesting facts about any primate of your choice.

Please be creative and thoughtful with your interesting facts. However, do NOT be creative when it comes to completing the taxonomy of your primate--- use only Fleagle's taxonomy which is found in your text and also here. Once you submit the form it will (hopefully) populate the Primates of the World Map that is on the Home page of our course. Scroll down to the bottom of the home page to see the map. Each of the pins represents one entry. Do not get too concerned if your pin does not immediately show up on the map. We are working out some technical glitches. A couple of times a day I will refresh the map. I will choose a few submissions each week to highlight on our Primates of the World Discussion Board.  Nearly a third of your grade will be based on these reports.  Do not give me the same species twice during the course. I will not accept any late reports.

Video journal: The best way to understand and appreciate primates is to see them in their habitat. However, our viewing options are limited in Seattle. Fortunately there is a rich source of videos available in our course Library Guide, take advantage of these sources to select a video each week that is greater than 4 mins in length.  I have created a Video journal template that asks you to provide specific information about the primate(s) including your best guess as to their common name, genus, species, and geographic distribution. If you choose a YouTube video please review and summarize what is being discussed in the Comments section. I will not accept any late reports.


Quizzes: Reading and comprehension quizzes are a component of each of the Modules.

Midterm: Will be given during week 4 and will encompass all material covered to date.

Final: Will be comprehensive and given during the last week of class.

Grades will be assigned the grade-point equivalent based upon your overall score. 

Grade scale: GPA





































Email style

Catalog Description: 
Origins, major evolutionary trends, and modern taxonomic relationships of the nonhuman primates. Their distribution and habitat in relation to behavioral and morphological adaptations and their status as endangered species.
Department Requirements: 
Human Evolutionary Biology Option
GE Requirements: 
Natural World (NW)
Last updated: 
December 7, 2019 - 9:00pm