edX: Introduction to Human Evolution

 with  Adam Van Arsdale
Class Central Course Rank
#3 in Subjects > Social Sciences > Anthropology

As contemporary humans, we are a product of our evolutionary past. That past can be directly observed through the study of the human fossil record, the materials preserved for archaeological study, and the DNA of living and extinct human populations. This course will provide an overview of human evolutionary history from the present--contemporary human variation in a comparative context--through our last common ancestor with the living great apes, some 5-7 million years in the past. Emphasis will be placed on major evolutionary changes in the development of humans and the methodological approaches used by paleoanthropologists and related investigators to develop that knowledge.

The course will begin by asking basic questions about how evolution operates to shape biological variation and what patterns of variation look like in living humans and apes. We will then look at how the human lineage first began to differentiate from apes, the rise and fall of the Australopithecines, the origin and dispersal of the genus Homo, and eventually the radical evolutionary changes associated with the development of agricultural practices in the past 15,000 years. Throughout the course students will be exposed to the primary data, places and theories that shape our understanding of human evolution.

6 Student
Cost Free Online Course
Pace Self Paced
Subject Anthropology
Institution Wellesley College
Provider edX
Language English
Calendar 12 weeks long

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Reviews for edX's Introduction to Human Evolution
5.0 Based on 6 reviews

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5.0 2 years ago
Sivananda Ramnath completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This is one of the best online courses I have taken. The professor succeeds in creating a desire to learn more about this topic. The course production is of very good quality. A lot of effort has to been made to provide a wealth of information. This is not a mere recording of classroom lectures but a well designed MOOC and all the videos and other materials have been designed around this. The quiz questions and exams are very well designed, and though provoking rather than a test of memory. Finally, I think Wellesley College students have the good fortune of having an opportunity to to do courses under Professor Adam Van Arsdale.
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5.0 3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
A high quality course, detailed and clear. There is a very well worked out series of online tests and activities.

I found the section on new discoveries in the field absolutely fascinating.
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5.0 4 years ago
Bruce Pohlmann completed this course.
Excellent introduction to the field. The material can get a bit technical, but that's the part that I really enjoyed. Engaging lectures.
3 people found
this review helpful
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5.0 8 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I took this course when it first came out, now I am redoing it as a refresher. Prof Van Arsdale is outstanding. I consider this course as one of my top 5 (out of approx 40).
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5.0 2 years ago
by Angie Bell Goolsby is taking this course right now.
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5.0 2 years ago
by Debbie Brown completed this course.
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