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ANTH 151.1 Introductory lecture

Introductory lecture for 'Human evolution & diversity'; updated for 2018.

Greg Downey

on 30 July 2018

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Transcript of ANTH 151.1 Introductory lecture

Anthropology 151
Human evolution & diversity
Greg Downey, convenor
Once upon a time, when you had a tail.
what is anthropology?
Traditionally, anthropology was the study of ‘primitive,’ non-Western cultures.
When diversity was seen through lens of ‘evolution’ (‘primitives,’ ‘savages,’ ‘tribals’), it made sense to put human evolution in anthropology.
In Australia, anthropology typically the study of cultural diversity through fieldwork.
Holistic anthropology
(biocultural, evolutionary, neuro-psychological)
when studying athletes, we need to understand the origin of and functional capacities of the human body.
how human body can be shaped by our values & obsessions.
sport an area where human diversity is
Understanding humanity with a multi-dimensional (bio-psycho-socio), cross-cultural & comparative framework.
what to expect: please read the unit guide carefully.
?? questions ??
coccyx or 'tailbone'
five fused vertebrae are discernible
X-ray of 6-year-old girl with atavistic tail
S1-S5 are normal coccyx vertebrae (but they are typically the size of S5 in this X-ray). C1-C3 are additional coccygeal tail vertebrae. The girl had a soft tail in the middle of her lower back.
From Bor-Maor et al. 1980
1. rare
2. present in adult (not just developmental)
3. missing from immediate parents.
4. trait of evolutionary ancestor
in fact, we all carry reminders of our evolutionary ancestors, but...
your tail
at one point, you had 10-12 vertebrae in your own tail.
traces of evolution
Gill slits
Wisdom teeth
vestigial organs
1. common or universal
2. present in adult
3. organ can have a use or be 'useless'
4. still has evidence of previous function.
homologous structures
Photo by Valentin Loschinin, 2010, creative commons
But isn't the human body perfectly adapted?!
in fact, the body has a host of '
'sub-optimal' solutions to 'design' problems
breathing, eating & talking plumbing overlaps
descent problem & prostate with urethra through it.
nerve is in front of the retina
why is this important?
evolution is not 'progress'
Tendency to understand ‘evolution’ through an older model: things improving or becoming ‘more perfect.’

‘Most evolved’ expression.

'Great chain of being'
creationists aren't the only ones getting it wrong.
unit guide
your tail
Elizabeth Hagan-Lawson
Sarah Pini
Remember to do the weekly quizzes!
10% Tutorials
20% Quizzes (starts Wk 2, iLearn)
20% Literature Review
25% Outline essay
25% Final exam (in exam period)
The readings online through Leganto & Library.
Free online ebook from 4-week version (link on iLearn) & more on the way!
Print off the tutorial worksheets (new versions will be made available each week).
(Last year's course packet is NOT good.)
No course packets! No book! No $$$!
email issues:
Paul Mason
Due dates

14 September – Literature Review
26 October – Outline essay
13-14 November Final exam (in exam period)
Tim Lynch (+external)
Alex Gillett
Lara McGirr
We do everything we can to make all resources available to ALL students!
Dive reflex
Cold water contacts the face...
10-20% reduction in heart rate (in humans), more in aquatic mammals.
vasoconstriction in periphery.
blood diverted to brain & heart.
Greg Downey and Paul Mason (2011)
Photo by Kellie Williamson
Mason, P. H., & Short, R. V. (2011). Neanderthal-human hybrids. Hypothesis 9(1), 1-5.
- cross-cultural variation
- evolutionary theory
- tuberculosis in Vietnam
- Neanderthals

Quick note about externals and also student services...
Meetings by appointment. Contact via MQ email.
Send me final exam questions!

You will know the answers!
Full transcript