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BioAnth Courses: B11 – What Finches Tell Us About Humans

b11B11 – What Finches Tell Us About Humans

This paper explores concepts and principles in evolutionary theory and their application to the evolution of humans.

The paper covers key concepts in evolution theory - selection, drift, adaptation, behavioural ecology, the evolution of form, allometry & heterochrony, species & speciation, extinction, evolutionary geography, evolutionary systematics and macroevolution - each paired with cases and examples from human evolution, including a discussion of bipedalism as a complex adaptive system, the evolution of humans’ unique growth and life-history, patterns of speciation and hybridisation, the role of geographic dispersals in diversification, and hominin evolutionary trends. The paper is organised in the form of 8 lectures and 8 discussion seminars during which the case studies in human evolution are explored.


It may be taken as an option by:

  • students doing the Biological Anthropology Track in Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing the Biological Anthropology/Archaeology Joint Track as Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students who have completed Part IB MVST, NST, PBS or Part IIA HSPS and are doing a one-year Part II in Biological Anthropology as part of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing Part II PBS and NST or Part IIB Archaeology
  • NST Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences students as part of a Major in Human Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour


Paper Coordinator: Prof Marta Mirazon Lahr

Lent Term: 12 lectures & 4 seminars
Assessement: 2 hour exam