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Undergraduate Courses

Please note that not all courses are given every year. To see which courses are offered in a given year please check the Registrar's Directory of Classes.

Prefixes: EEEB = Environmental Biology. ANTH = Anthropology

EEEB W1001. Biodiversity. 3 pts. D. Melnick. This course will use genetics, evolutionary biology, and ecology to address three simple questions: What is biological diversity? Where can we find it? How can we conserve it? No previous knowledge of science or mathematics is assumed.

EEEB V1010. Human Origins and Evolution. 3 pts. J. Shapiro.
Designed to acquaint students with a variety of scientific disciplines through the investigation of human evolution, specifically Darwin's theory of evolution; Mendel's principles of inheritance; major patterns of organic evolution; primate behavior, ecology, and evolutions; and the fossil remains and evolutionary trends in human evolution. Taught every fall.

EEEB V1011. Behavioral Biology of the Living Primates. 3 pts. M. Cords.
Study of non-human primate behavior from the perspective of phylogeny, adaptation, physiology and anatomy, and life history. Focus on the four main problems primates face: finding appropriate food, avoiding being eaten themselves, reproducing in the face of competition, and dealing with social partners. Taught every spring.

EEEB W2001. Environmental Biology, I: Molecules to Cells. 4 pts. S. Naeem. Introductory biology course for majors in biology or environmental biology, emphasizing the cell and molecular context of modern biology.

EEEB W2002. Environmental Biology, II: Organisms to Ecosystems. 4 pts. M. Palmer.
Second semester of introductory biology sequence for majors in environmental biology and environmental science, emphasizing the ecological and evolutionary aspects of biology. Also intended for those interested in an introduction to the principles of ecology and evolutionary biology.

EEEB W2010. Tropical Biology. 4 pts D. Rubenstein. Study ecology, evolution, and conservation biology in one of the world’s most biologically spectacular settings, the wildlife-rich savannas of Kenya. Students will spend their time immersed in an intensive field experience gaining sophisticated training in fieldwork and biological research. The majority of the coursework will be completed during a three week field trip to Kenya occurring after the end of the semester (May/June). Note that there is a ~$2,000 lab fee to cover all in-country expenses, and students are also responsible for the cost of airfare to and from Kenya (~$1,500). For more information click here.

EEEB W3001. The Saga of Life 4 pts. S. Naeem. A survey of the origin and end of life on Earth as seen through three different lenses: natural science (physics, chemistry, biology), social science (environmental biology, sustainability science), and the humanities (film, literature, and religion). The primary objective of this course is to come to a fundamental understanding of the significance of Earth's extraordinary diversity of plants, animals, and microorganisms, and its magnificent array of ecosystems, from rainforests and grasslands to the abyssal plains of the oceans, and to do so through synthetic and integrative thinking that transcends the traditional boundaries of scholarship. Maximum enrollment: 20.

EEEB W3005. Introduction to Statistics for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 3 pts. D.Madigan. Prerequisites: Some background in ecology, evolutionary biology, and/or statistics is recommended. An introduction to the theoretical principles and practical application of statistical methods in ecology and evolutionary biology. The course will cover the conceptual basis for a range of statistical techniques through a series of lectures using examples from the primary literature. The application of these techniques will be taught through the use of statistical software in computer-based laboratory sessions.

EEEB W3011. Behavioral Biology of Living Primates. 3 pts. M. Cords. Pre-requisites: introductory biology course in organismal biology and instructor's permission. Survey of non-human primate behavior from the perspective of phylogeny, adaptation, physiology and anatomy, and life history. Focus on the four main problems primates face: finding appropriate food, avoid being eaten themselves, reproducing in the face of competition, and dealing with social partners. Recitation section required. Taught every spring.

EEEB W3030. Biology, Systematics, and Evolutionary History of "The Apes." 3 pts. J. Shapiro. Pre-requisites: V1010, 1011 or equivalent. This course focuses on our closest relatives, the extant apes of Africa and Asia. We will explore the nature and extent of the morphological, genetic, and behavioral variablility within and among these forms. Using this framework, we will analyze questions of systematics and trace the evolutionary development of the hominoids during the Miocene, the epoch that saw the last common ancestor of today's gibbons, orang utans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Taught every other year/intermittently.

EEEB W3087. Conservation Biology. 3 pts.M. Palmer, S. Spector. The biological principles relevant to the conservation of biodiversity at the genetic, population, and community levels. Because conservation biology is a cross-disciplinary field, some of the social, philosophical, and economic dimensions of biological conservation are also addressed.

EEEB W3204. Dynamics of Human Evolution. 4 pts. J. Shapiro. Seminar focusing on recent advances in the study of human evolution. Topics include changing views of human evolution with respect to early hominin behavior, morphology, phylogeny and evolutionary theory. Enrollment limited to 13. Taught every other year.

EEEEB W3208. Explorations in Primate Anatomy. 3 pts. J. Shapiro. Prerequisite EEEB V1010 or V1011 or instructor approval. Introductory laboratory course in primate skeletal anatomy. From tarsiers to talapoins, guenons to gibbons, through hands-on analysis students explore the amazing range and diversity of the living members of this order. Enrollments limited to 14. Taught every other year.

EEEB W3215. Forensic Osteology. 3 pts. J. Shapiro. An exploration of the hidden clues in your skeleton. Students learn the techniques of aging, sexing, assessing ancestry, and the effects of disease, trauma and culture on human bone. [Students may take this before but not after either semester of human skeletal biology.] Enrollment limited to 15. Taught every other year.

EEEB W3220x The Evolution of Human Growth and Development 3 pts. Prerequisites: EEEBV1010 or ANTHV1007 or Instructor permission. This course explores central issues in human growth and development from birth through senescence. Emphasis will be placed on the factors responsible for the variability in current human growth patterns as well as the evolutionary divergence of a uniquely human pattern from our closest living and fossil relatives.

EEEB W3230x Late Pleistocene Paleoanthropology of Southeast Asia and Australia 3 pts. Prerequisites: EEEBV1010 or ANTHV1007 or Instructor permission. Given recent intriguing insights into Southeast Asian and Australian human evolution, this course presents a topical and comprehensive analysis of the region's paleoanthropological record. Issues of origins, isolation and extinctions are explored using evidence from morphology, archaeology, and genetics.

EEEB W3240y Challenges and Strategies of Primate Conservation 3 pts. J. Fuller. Prerequisites: EEEBV1010 Human Species or EEEBV1011 Behavioral Biology of Living Primates. Throughout their range, numerous primate species are on the brink of extinction. This course examines the central issues relating to conservation of wild primates and explores strategies and solutions for preserving these endangered populations. Through the analysis of the ecological and social traits linked to vulnerability and the direct and indirect threats from human activities, students will gain a practical understanding of how to develop successful, sustainable, and practical conservation strategies. (Max enrollment-20. EBHS students have priority)

EEEB W3250y Method and Theory in Biological Anthropology 4 pts. J. Fuller. Prerequisites: EEEB V1010 Human Species or EEEBV1010 Behavioral Biology of Living Primates This course examines what it means to do scientific research, using the three main foci of the field of biological anthropology-paleoanthropology, primate behavioral biology, and human variation/adaptation-to understand how questions are developed and how different methods are used to examine hypotheses. Through structured discussion and critical analysis of primary literature, students will move beyond learning the facts of biological anthropology to an understanding of the process of developing and interpreting research. [Max 13 students]

EEEEB W3910. The Neandertals. 4 pts. J. Shapiro. Prerequisite EEEB V1010. One hundred fifty years after discovery, Neandertals remain one of the most enigmatic hominin taxa. What do we understand today about their biology, subsistence, culture, cognitive abilities and eventual fate? Are they simply extinct relatives or do their genes continue in many of us today? In this seminar students critically examine the primary research as we attem;pt to find answers to some of these questions. Taught every other year or every third year in rotation with Dynamics of Human Evolution. Enrollment limited to 13.

EEEB W3915y Comparative Social Evolution 3 pts. D. Rubenstein. Prerequisites: instructor's permission This collaborative course co-taught with experts from four universities will explore the diversity of social life on earth. Weekly course meetings will connect undergraduate students from around the country to explore social evolution in a comparative context. Through a combination of primary literature, lectures by leaders in the field, inter-collegiate discussions using social media, and student-led data analysis and comparative projects, students will gain different perspectives on social evolution from some of the world's leaders in the field.

EEEB V3940. Current Controversies In Primate Behavior and Ecology. 4 pts. M. Cords. Enrollment limited to 15. Prerequisite: EEEB V1011 or the equivalent. Critical in-depth evaluation of selected issues in primate socioecology, including adaptationism, sociality, sexual competition, communication, kinship, dominance, cognition, and politics. Emphasizes readings from original literature. Taught every 2 years.

ANTH V3970. Biological Basis of Human Variation. 4 pts. R. Holloway. Enrollment limited to 20. Prerequisite: EEEB V1010 and the instructor's permission. The biological evidence for the modern human diversity at the molecular, phenotypical, and behavioral levels, as distributed geographically.

EEEB W3991x and W3992y Senior Seminar 4 pts. M. Palmer

EEEB W3993x and W3994y Senior Seminar 4 pts. J. Shapiro

EEEB W3997x Independent studies 1-3 pts. Faculty.

EEEB W3998y Independent studies 1-3 pts. Faculty.


Check Graduate offerings for courses open to undergraduate students.