BIO A 201 A: Principles of Biological Anthropology

Meeting Time: 
MWThF 9:30am - 10:20am
* *
Andi Duncan
Andrea E. Duncan

Syllabus Description:

Spring 2021: Remote Instruction

Instructor: Dr. Andrea Duncan (

TA: Mikhail Echávarri (

Full Syllabus and printable versions are here.

Course Structure 

Two synchronous sessions weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays:
  • Lectures presented asynchronously as recorded videos via Canvas.  These post twice weekly, on Mondays & Thursdays. 
  • We meet as a whole class, live via Zoom, every Thursday, 9:30-10:20am.  
  • Lab sections are held live via Zoom every Tuesday.

All students are expected to attend their registered lab at the scheduled time (labs are not interchangeable):

        • Lab AB   9:30-10:20
        • Lab AC  10:30-11:20
        • Lab AD  11:30-12:20

There are no meetings in-person or on campus for this quarter.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to biological anthropology. During the quarter, we will explore the processes and mechanisms of evolution and the “human story.” We will learn about evolutionary and genetic processes and the role they have played in shaping the biological and behavioral adaptations of the Primate Order – humans, nonhuman primates, and our ancestors. We will consider what it means to be human and how we “fit” into the larger natural world, examining past, present, and future human variation, the complex interactions of biology, behavior, and our environments. In addition, we will examine the ways in which we are currently trying to better understand ourselves, and our history.

You should leave this course with an understanding of the following:

  • Evolutionary theory and population genetics – how organisms change and adapt over time

  • Nonhuman primate diversity, ecology and behavior for its intrinsic value and as models and predictors of human behavior 

  • Paleoanthropology and how the fossil record shows the evolution of small protoprimates into hominins, their morphology and behavior and the path that finally leads to appearance and spread of modern humans

  • The variation and selective factors that shape the morphology and behavior of modern human populations


  • Weekly online lecture assignments
  • Lab assignments (most but not every week)
  • Several supplementary film assignments
  • Two online exams - midterm & final


How Humans Evolved (9th Ed.) by Robert Boyd and Joan Silk

W.W. Norton, 2021, ISBN 9780393427967 (paperback)/ 9780393533088 (ePub)

You have several options to access the material:

    • e-books from publisher (W.W. Norton)
    • University Bookstore (206.634.3400)
    • Amazon offers the 9th as well, but seems to be more costly than other sources

 Please note that older editions are significantly different and not substitutes for the newest edition.

How Humans Evolved 9th edition cover  

Catalog Description: 
Evolution and adaptation of the human species. Evidence from fossil record and living populations of monkeys, apes, and humans. Interrelationships between human physical and cultural variation and environment; role of natural selection in shaping our evolutionary past, present, and future. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
Natural World (NW)
Last updated: 
October 27, 2021 - 8:22pm