Anthropology 362:  Human Paleontology
Spring 2011
Class time: Tu (1:40-4:05), W (1:40-2:55)
Professor: Kate Pechenkina, Ph. D.
office: Powdermaker Hall 312A
telephone: (718) 997-5529
fax: (718) 997-2885
office hours: Tu 4 PM to 4:30 PM, Th 3:00 to 4:00 PM
Required Course Materials:
Course Pack
Course Description:
An examination of the fossil evidence for human evolution. Instruction will be carried out using a variety of formats: lecture, class discussion and direct examination of hominid morphology using casts and powerpoint images. Paleoanthropology is an interdisciplinary field and information from primatology, ecology, archeology and geology will be synthesized with our observations of hominid morphology to provide a holistic view of hominid evolution. I hope that each student will gain an appreciation of the track that human evolution took. Rather than being an inexorable development of morphological form culminating with modern humans, the evolution of our family is marked by a great deal of natural experimentation. Diverse communities of hominids lived in the past, with our now extinct cousins often being more common than our direct ancestors. This class will examine this morphological diversity, to better understand the biological relationships, behaviors and adaptations of our extinct relatives, and to gain a deeper understanding of when the characteristics defining modern humans emerged.

Course structure:
Attendance is mandatory. Lectures will highlight material from the reading, but will not necessarily cover every topic in the articles. You are expected to have completed the assigned reading before lecture, so that you can make sense of the presented material and participate in class discussion. Lectures may include material that is not in the readings, and you are responsible for all material presented in lecture and covered in the assigned reading. This syllabus is a plan not a promise. You should expect modifications to the reading list as the semester progresses.

Exams and Grading:
Your grade will be based upon performance on lab assignments, five quizzes, two exams, and class participation. Class participation is essential for me to assess whether students are completing and comprehending the assigned reading, and to have effective seminar sessions. Late assignments submitted before the final examination will receive a maximum of 80% credit.

The grade breakdown is as follows:
20% Assignments
20% Quizzes
10% Class participation and readings
25% Midterm exam: weeks 1-7 (3/22)
25% Final exam (TBA)

Arriving late to class disrupts the lecture and is disrespectful to others.

week dates topic readings quizzes and due dates
1 2/1
Introduction, Evolutionary Mechanisms
Anatomy, review
Campbell Ch. 5:131-134 
2 2/8
Timeline, origin of mammals
Timeline continued; Primate Origin

Xu et a. 2004
Campbell Ch. 5: 134-140
Delson and Tattersall 2007
3 2/15
Primates, Primate origins, monkeys
Primate Evolution, Apes
Franzen et al. 2009
Delson 2007
Kohler and Moya-Sola 2009
Campbell Ch 5 142-156

2/15:Quiz 1 (evolution-general concepts; timeline)
4 2/22
Hominins-intro, bipedality
Mio-Pliocene Hominins
Wong 2003
Zollikofer 2005
Pickford et al. 2002
5 3/01
White et al. 2009
Lovejoy 2009
Ardipithecus !!
Ardi's skeleton
Campbell Ch 6 and 7 All
3/01:Quiz 2 (primates, hominins)
3/03 Lab 1 is due
6 3/08
Australopiths continued

Asfaw et al. 1999
Wood 2006; Berger et al. 2010
White 2003; Wood and Constantino 2007
7 3/15
Hominin behavior
Laden and Wrangham 2005
Rosenberg and Trevathan 1995;
Teaford and Ungar 2000
10/17: lab 2 is due
10/15: Quiz 3 (Hominins)
8 3/22
The earliest Homo, H. habelis and H. rudolfensis
Tattersall and Schwartz 2007
Wood and Collard 1999
Leakey et al. 1964
9 3/29
The Oldowan technology
The Oldowan technology, archaeological sites
Homo ergasterand Homo erectus
Plummer 2004
Gabunia et al. 2001
Schwartz 2004
10 4/05
Homo erectus cntd.
Homo antecessor
Anton and Swisher 2004; Bermudez et al. 2004;
Milton 1999; Carbonell et al. 2008
4/07 Quiz 4 (early Homo)
11 4/12
Homo floresiensis
AAPA meeting, no class

4/19-4/26 Spring Recess! No classes
12 4/28
Homo heidelbergensis Rightmire 1998; Dennell 1997 4/28: lab 3 is due
13 5/03
Neanderthals cntd.
Lalueza-Fox 2010
Henry et al. 2010
14 5/10
Origin of Anatomically modern humans
Multiregional continuity vs. Single origin
White et al. 2003
Frayer et al. 1993
05/10: Quiz 5 (Neanderthals and Homo sapiens )
15 5/17
The Human Revolution; Review Stringer 2002
5/17: lab 4 is due