Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
back to search

Introduction to Physical Anthropology

Course Code: ANTH 1111
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Anthropology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course surveys the scope, goals, and major discoveries of physical anthropology, dealing particularly with human biological evolution, the hominin fossil record, and present physical diversity.

Course Content

  1. Introduction to Anthropology and Physical Anthropology
  2. The Development of Evolutionary Theory           
  3. The Biological Basis of Life and Heredity and Evolution
  4. Introduction to Primatology: The Living Primates and Primate Behaviour
  5. Macroevolution and the Fossil Primates
  6. Human Osteology.     
  7. Early Fossil Hominins of the Plio-Pleistocene
  8. Homo Erectus
  9. Homo Sapiens– Neanderthal and Modern
  10. Contemporary Human Physical Adaptability and Variation

Methods of Instruction

Course content will be conveyed through lectures.  Extensive use will be made of human skeletal elements and casts of fossil hominid discoveries at relevant points in the class presentations.  Videos and slides will also be used to present course material.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be: 

Exams (3 x 25% each)  75%
Quizzes (2 x 5% each)   10%
Short Paper (on a specific aspect of interpreting the fossil record)  10%
Attendance and Participation    5%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Discuss scope and goals of physical anthropology, and its place within and contributions to the broader discipline of anthropology.
  2. Discuss the major subfields of physical anthropology and the research techniques employed by each.
  3. Outline the major theories of biological evolution, from Darwin and Mendel to the modern synthesis.
  4. Identify major skeletal elements of the human body.
  5. Discuss the importance of studies of our closest relatives, the non-human primates, to the understanding of human biology and evolution.
  6. Discuss the hominid fossil record:  how it is formed, major discoveries and interpretations, and the limitations inherent in the data.
  7. Assess the major techniques of dating fossil discoveries and their limitations.
  8. Discuss modern human physical diversity and theories on the adaptive value of such inherited traits.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.