The course aims at introducing key concepts fundamental to understand the history of our species, Homo sapiens, within an evolutionary framework.
After the completion of the course the student will be able to provide a description of the evolutionary processed associated with :
a) the morphological and behavioural variation present across primates;
b) the main phases in the evolutionary history of our species;
c) the variation present in the modern human populations.
Course contents summary
Primates: evolution an diversity, adaptations, mating strategies, behaviour;
The Human lineage: human-chimpanzee comparison, the earliest hominins, the australopithecines, the genus Homo, Homo sapiens and its relatives
Modern humans: origin, distribution , variation and adaptations.
The following texts are recommended:
Boyd& Silk, 2018 How Humans Evolved Norton 8th Edition
Stanford, Allen & Anton 2009 Biological Anthropology Pearson International 2nd Edition
For the part focusing on primates and fossil, there are two popular science publications in Italian that introduce the material that will be presented during the course:
Manzi, 2001 Scimmie Il Mulino
Manzi, 2018 Il grande racconto dell'evoluzione umana Il Mulino
Students are invited to refer to the slides presented during the lectures
The course is based on frontal lectures. To facilitate the comprehension of the material, videos on selected topics will be shown as part of the course. During lectures students will be invited to answer in an autonomous way questions related to the material presented, as a way to evaluate their degree of understanding of the different topics.
Assessment methods and criteria
The exam will be written and based on multiple choice and open questions.