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BioAnth Courses: B13 – Health and Disease throughout Human Evolution

b13B13 – Health and Disease throughout Human Evolution

This paper explores patterns of human health and disease from our evolutionary ancestors through to the present day.

From conception to death, humans undergo a process of development that is shaped by genes, pathogens and environment. This process is a product both of evolutionary change and of the succession of environments that individuals encounter through their lives, resulting in health patterns in populations that vary greatly with time, space and culture. This course explores means to characterize health patterns of different populations from the archaeologically recovered and historically documented past up to the present day, and goes on to predict health over the next century. We will investigate how disease has shaped the way humans have evolved, how diseases have evolved to exploit humans, and how humans have attempted to treat disease through the practice of medicine.


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: Dr Piers Mitchell

Michaelmas Term: 16 lectures & seminars
Assessment: 2 hour exam