Topics for Essay Two

Due date: Last day of class – bring a printed copy or email your essay to me before class starts.

Fall 20 Essay Instructions; sample essay; example of an A essay


Chapter 6 and 7 Primate behavior

*How does primatology contribute to anthropology? Describe the different methods used by primatologists to make their research relevant to anthropology.

*Compare and contrast the Old World and New World monkeys. First, briefly describe both groups and then note the traits seen in one and/or both groups we also see in modern Homo sapiens.

*Compare and contrast nonhuman primate communication and human language. Your comparison should briefly describe these concepts and use specific examples mentioned throughout the book when contrasting the concepts.

Chapter 8 Early hominin evolution

*Compare and contrast the relative and absolute dating methods. First talk about the dating methods in general and then describe the dating methods paleoanthropologists use.

*The adoption of bipedal locomotion resulted in several modifications to hominin morphology. Identify these modifications and then describe the different hypotheses used to explain why bipedalism became a hominin adaptation.

Chapter 9 First dispersal of the genus Homo: Homo erectus and contemporaries

*Increased meat consumption is hypothesized to have led to (a) increased brain and body size and (b) expanded geographic distribution of Homo erectus. Explain the implications this suggests for modern humans.

*Briefly describe the first hominin dispersal out of Africa and describe the morphology of the fossil finds at Dmanisi site discussed in class. Then explain what we can learn about hominin evolution given the morphology of the Dmanisi fossil specimens and the fact that they’re the earliest hominins found out of Africa.

Chapter 10 Premodern humans

*Some paleoanthropologists classify Neandertal as a subspecies: Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Others classify Neandertal as species: Homo neanderthalensis. What are the reasons and evidence used to support one one classification over the other?

Chapter 11 Origins and dispersal of modern humans

*Discuss the main models explaining the origin and dispersal of modern humans.

Chapter 12 Human variation and adaptation

*Describe the biocultural evolutionary approach and then use it to answer this question: How did the adoption of a sedentary lifestyle affect patterns of infectious disease in human populations?

Chapter 13 and 14 Legacies of human evolutionary history: effects on the individual

*Discuss the genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors influencing modern human growth and development.

* Using information from chapters 2, 6, 7, 12, and 13, describe the challenges humans face in their day-to-day lives that are the result of our adaptive traits that were once useful to us but are no longer adaptive in the modern human environment.