Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ATH 101
Course Title:
Introduction to Physical Anthropology
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Presents physical anthropology and the study of human biological evolution in the context of modern genetics and primate behavior studies. Examines human fossil record, as well as the diversity and commonality of present and past populations of humankind. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

The course surveys the history of evolutionary fact and theory; it reviews the paleontological fossil record to better understand human commonalities with other life forms; we study the human fossil record from the earliest hominids to modern forms, and; human variation is analyzed demonstrating the fallacy of commonly held racial and racist assumptions. Students should minimally read and write at the college level.

Intended Outcomes for the course

1. Master basic concepts and methods in biological anthropology in order to prepare for more advanced course work.

2. Use an understanding of biology, genetics and fossil evidence to examine the process of human physical and cultural evolution over time.

3. Evaluate how human beings influence the environment and are influenced by the environment in which they live. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies ma y include any of the following:

* exams ( in class or take home)

* quizzes

* student presentations

* term papers

* short papers or reports

* experiential exercises

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Human Biology
  • Evolution
  • Variation


  • Origins of Life
  • Human Origins
  • Human Variation (not race)


  • Time
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Natural Selection
  • Random Variation
  • Chaos Theory
  • Human Lineages
  • Fossil Humans
  • Gene Pool
  • Human Variation
  • Brain and Language


  • Study Physical Anthropology at the College level
  • Learn Human Biology and Evolution