75780 - Paleoanthropology (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will acquire when and where the hunam evolution occurred trhoughout the fossil record and the cultural manifestations of the prehistoric humans.

Course contents

The course is for the students of the School of Sciences (for which it consists of 4 CFU) and of the School of Art, Humanities and Cultural Heritage (LM: Archeologia e Cultura del Mondo Antico, for which it consists of 6 CFU) and it is done in the same hours.The program is common, except for some topics, below specified, for the students of the LM Archeologia e Cultura del Mondo Antico.

 

In the course the natural history of humans will be told through the fossil record and its chronological and geographical framework. To understand the evolutionary process, a comparative approach is made between the skeletal variability of modern humans, that of the living Primates and that of some fossil remains. In this context, the main features of modern human biology (upright posture, biopedism, hand release from locomotor function, encephalization) will be explained. The changes of the ecological niche in the different phases of the human evolution will be dealt with the study of biology and cultural innovations (fire, diet, lithic technology, sociality, funerary behavior) and in particular those occurred in the Pliocene-Pleistocene and Pleistocene-Holocene transitions .

 

The program of the students of the LM Archeologia e Cultura del Mondo Antico foresees supplementary topics related to the funerary practices and rituals during the human evolution (see Readings/Bibliography).


Readings/Bibliography

Manzi G. Ultime notizie sull'evoluzione umana. Ed. Il Mulino, Bologna, 2017.

or

Manzi G. Il grande racconto dell'evoluzione umana. Ed. Il Mulino, Bologna, 2013.

 

The slides of the lessons will be provided. They can vary in relation to the scientific innovations that emerge from year to year.

 

Supplementary bibliography only for the students of the LM Archeologia e Cultura del Mondo Antico:

Pettitt P (2011) The Palaeolithic Origins oh human burial. Routledge. Taylor and Francis Groups. London and New York.

The teacher will indicate at the beginning fo the lessons the parts of the books that are to be studied for the exam.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons within which the teacher will show skeletons of humans and other Primates to compare and recognize the different features. Moulds of the most important human fossils housed at the Museum of Anthropology will be also analyzed.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral examination in which the student have to explain the chronological phases of the human evolution, the geographical location of the fossils, the criteria for recognizing the human fossils, and the cultural aspects related to the human evolution.

 

The students of the Master Degree of School of Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage who attend the 6CFU course will bring a deepening of a theme of the book Pettitt P (2011) The Palaeolithic Origins oh human burial. Routledge. Taylor and Francis Groups. London and New York. This deepening will be agreed before the exam with the teacher.

As regards the assessment all the students have to:

prepare the required arguments, demonstrate ability of expression and correct use of the Italian language, an adequate and correct scientific terminology.

 

Moreover, for the students of the Master Degree of School of Arts, Humanities and Cultural Heritage the assessment will take in consideration ability to synthesize and critical sense during the presentation of the deeeping before mentioned.

Teaching tools

Computer projector, PC, laboratory hands-on, visit at the Museum of Anthropology

Office hours

See the website of Maria Giovanna Belcastro