Becoming Human: Anthropology

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Course Date: 11 August 2014 to 09 September 2014

Price: free

Course Summary

Impressively, humans are the only creatures produced by evolution that are capable of understanding evolution. In Becoming Human: Anthropology, you can explore how evolution works and how variation arises. Find out why, of all the orders of life, primates produced us. How did apes start to look like us, walk on two feet and grow big brains that over the past 200,000 years have figured out where we came from? This course will give you some thought-provoking answers.

Course Instructors

Assoc. Prof. Greg Downey

Greg is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Macquarie University. He has done field research in Brazil and the United States, and is an expert in neuroanthropology, the study of the relationship between brain and culture. In particular, he studies athletes, including cage fighters, capoeira practitioners and rugby players, to understand how our bodies and brains adapt as we learn skills. He is the author of a number of books and articles, and has been voted among Australia’s best lecturers by students.

Course Description

What's it about?

Impressively, humans are the only creatures produced by evolution that are capable of understanding evolution. In Becoming Human: Anthropology, you can explore how evolution works and how variation arises.

Impressively, humans are the only creatures produced by evolution that are capable of understanding evolution. In Becoming Human: Anthropology, you can explore how evolution works and how variation arises.

Find out why, of all the orders of life, primates produced us. How did apes start to look like us, walk on two feet and grow big brains that over the past 200,000 years have figured out where we came from? This course will give you some thought-provoking answers.

What's involved?

Module 1Introducing: Becoming Human
7 videos, 5 quizzes, 1 assessment11 Aug - 17 Aug
Module 2Darwin
10 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment18 Aug - 24 Aug
Module 3Sex
10 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment25 Aug - 31 Aug
Module 4Brains
10 videos, 8 quizzes, 1 assessment1 Sep - 7 Sep

What will I learn?

  • Basic evolutionary concepts
  • The traces of human evolution in our bodies
  • Darwin’s contributions to evolutionary theory
  • The genetic dimensions of human evolution
  • The processes of cooperation and symbiosis
  • Niche creation, learning, and other types of inheritance
  • The differences between men and women
  • Why sex is so important to evolution
  • The role of our needy babies
  • 'Natural’ human sexuality
  • What brains are good for
  • The cost of having a big brain
  • Tools, technology and new evolutionary tricks
  • Whether or not human evolution is over

This course requires approximately 2 - 4 hours of study per week, but can vary depending on the student. This includes watching videos, and taking quizzes and assessments. The total video time for this course is approximately 4 hours 20 minutes.

If you pass this course you'll receive a Certificate of Achievement. While this certificate isn't a formal qualification or credit, you can use it to demonstrate your interest in learning about this area to potential employers or educational institutions.

Where to from here?

If you love this course, why not take your studies further? Here are some accredited qualifications that could help you achieve your goals.

Where could this lead me?

If you're wondering what your future could look like in this area, here are some potential careers you could head towards.

  • Researcher
  • Scientist
  • Policy Adviser

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