When: Thursdays, Mar 1 – Apr 19, 10:00am-noon
No class on March 15

Where: The Hampton Inn

Cost: $175.00 for 7 session(s)


Instructor: Matthew J. Rowe , has been a lecturer at the University of Arizona School of Anthropology since fall of 2014 and is currently a curatorial assistant at the Stanley J. Olsen Zooarchaeology Laboratory.
Matthew J. Rowe

Perspectives from Archaeology and Paleoanthropology

Paleoanthropologists have tracked the story of human evolution through over 7 million years, by following the archaeological evidence of human development. The story begins with our large bodied Miocene apes in Africa, traces the origins of bipedalism and cognitive expansion, and then follows human expansion out of Africa and into the rest of the world and beyond. Topics include understanding evolution, early hominids and the origin of bipedalism, cooking and anatomy, early migrations, art and cave paintings, the peopling of the Americas, and recent discoveries that are changing how we understand the development of modern humans.

Week 1: Understanding the Evolutionary Process and Origin of Species
Modern Evolutionary Biology: Review the basics of Darwinian evolution, and current research that help us understand how evolutionary forces mold species.
DNA: Also focus on DNA studies that are illuminating paleoanthropology. Consider theories, methods, and findings from this area of paleoanthropological research.

Week 2: Early Hominids and the Origin of Bipedalism
Ardipithecus Group and Early Hominids: Look at some of the earliest fossils in the hominin lineage, discuss significant changes in the skeletal anatomy, and discuss what this suggests to us about the behavior of each species.
Origins of Bipedalism: Examine theories of the origin of our unique form of locomotion and consider the evidence and potential links between past environmental change and hominin evolution.

Week 3: Cooking, Technology, Modern Human Anatomy
The Cooking Ape: Desmond Morris famously dubbed modern humans “the Naked Ape”. Since then, others have employed similar labels. Explore a theory that connects human digestive anatomy to cooking and to increases in cognitive ability.
The Archaeology of Food: Discover how archaeologists and paleoanthropologists learn about past diets, and discuss several methods employed in the exploration of past food systems.

Week 4. Early travelers
The Travels of Homo erectus: Trace the expansion of hominins from Africa into the rest of the world and discuss some of the theories and important sites associated with this first migration and expansion.
Expansion of Homo sapiens neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens sapiens: Explore the expansion of modern humans and Neanderthals in the upper Paleolithic, looking at the timing and evidence of this migration.

Week 5: Development of Artwork and Cave Paintings
The Upper Paleolithic: In the Upper Paleolithic we see an explosion of new technologies as modern humans move into new ecosystems. Consider some of these technological developments and ideas about the interaction between hominin species, as modern humans move into inhabited landscapes.
Cave Paintings, Rock Art, and the Creative Human Mind: Look more closely at the expansion and development of art in the archaeological record and famous cave sites, Lascaux and Chauvet Cave, and discuss the importance of the development of art.

Week 6: Expansion into the Americas
Clovis First: The peopling of the Americas is a lively topic in archaeological research. Examine the history of the research and the development of major theories about the timing, route, and source of the first Americans.
Pre-Clovis Research: Consider the current research on the peopling of the Americas, discuss major findings and new discoveries, and explore how these findings change our understanding of human expansion into the Americas.

Week 7: Recent Developments in Paleoanthropology
New Species: In this final section, we will discuss new findings that are dramatically changing the way we think about human evolution and explore the new species discovered over the past few years.
Stones, Bones, and Wrap Up: Review recent developments and discuss the implications for future research on the origins of modern humans.

Loading Map....

Register for Tracking the Footprints of Humanity

Online registration has been closed for this class. Please call (520) 777-5817 for availability.