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BioAnth Courses: B4 – Human Comparative Biology

b4B4 – Human Comparative Biology

This paper examines the biology of our species in the context of non-human primate and wider mammalian variation.

The paper covers diverse aspects of human biology, including anatomy, physiology, behaviour, cognition, growth patterns and life-history characteristics. It considers the ways in which our biology differs from that of our closest living relatives, the non-human primates, as well as mammals and vertebrates more broadly. It will also explore biological variation within and between human populations, drawing on evidence from both past and contemporary human populations by combining perspectives from the fields of Palaeoanthropology, Evolutionary Genetics, Osteoarchaeology and Human Biology. The paper will consider not only how we vary, but why, discussing both the underlying evolutionary mechanisms (such as natural selection, neutral variation and epigenetics), as well as the developmental basis of the variation we observe.


It is taken by :

  • students doing the Biological Anthropology Track in Part IIA 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

It may be taken as an option by:

  • Part IIA students in the Archaeology Tripos
  • Part IB students in the HSPS (Human, Social and Political Sciences) Tripos
  • Part IB students in the PBS (Psychological and Behavioural Sciences) Tripos

Paper Coordinator: Dr. Emma Pomeroy

Michaelmas Term: 16 lectures
Lent Term: 8 Lectures & 3 seminars

Assessment: 3 hour exam