|"What a piece of work is man!"
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
As to what you really want to know, yes, this is a hard course. For many students, if not for most, this course is taken toward fulfillment of the science requirement. While arguably it is not as difficult as chemistry or physics, it does require substantial study as there is a great deal of data to be mastered before we can begin play with the theories and underlying concepts. However, having said that, no matter what your past experience with science, every student is capable of doing well in this class. So, do not be concerned if you are biologically deprived or biophobic, or if at the mere mention of the word science or a bit of math you break out in a cold sweat. If you like to be challenged, great, this course will do that, but if you need assistance along the way, the TAs and I are here to help.
This course satisfies the Columbia College and the School of General Studies science requirement. You may take EEEB V1011, The Behavioral Biology of the Living Primates, before taking Human Species but most students who are interested in taking both courses find that it makes more sense to take the latter first.
Exams: There will be a midterm exam most probably consisting of short answers and problems sets, which is worth 1/3 of the term grade. The final exam will likely consist of short answers and essays and it is worth 2/3 of the term grade. The final is synthetic, not cumulative.
[Please note that the specifics of the exam format may change in any given year.]
Field Trip: Usually, one of the requirements of this class is an end of term, self-led, field trip to the American Museum of Natural History. The renovated Hall of Human Biology and Evolution opened in spring 2007 but, unfortunately, while it contains some amazing materials, the layout is not necessarily conducive to a self-led study trip as in the past. As such, students are encouraged to view the hall on their own but this will no longer be required for this course.
Students are also encouraged to take a trip to the Bronx Zoo/International Wild Life Conservation Park or to the Central Park Zoo to observe some of your fellow primates.
Notation is made of students who attend at least 8 of the 11 weekly sessions. Should a term grade be borderline, i.e., fall between two grades, the aforementioned notation will be used to swing the grade upward. Without this notation, there is nothing to swing that grade upward and students justifiably earn the baseline (lower) grade.
This site has been designed as a complement to Courseworks. In addition to providing an overview of the subject matter of the course, it offers students
the opportunity to explore some of the topics in greater depth. It also affords those who are visual learners a variety of experiences to enhance their
understanding of the material. Students can read sections of Darwin's journal while on the Beagle, view animations of chromosome replication, watch the
movement of tectonic plates over the last 750 millions years, analyze contrasts between skulls and find movie recommendations relevant to the topic. In the second half of the term we hope to implement a new annotation system that will allow you to practice
identifying key anatomical features on images of fossil specimens.
Students who register for is course will have access to Courseworks. This system will be used for basic course information including the syllabus, library links to all supplemental articles, optional practice problems sets and answer keys, study tips and miscellaneous course news.
A great debt is owed to Raymond Cha of the Center for New Media Teaching and Learning who created the shell and was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge during the construction of this site. Thanks also to Adrienne Romanski, a graduate student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology who spent innumerable hours putting the site together. My ongoing appreciation is also extended to the entire staff of the CNMTL, Romeo Giron and Jonathan Hall in the early years of this site and to Michael Cennamo in particular as the site is updated and expanded, who continue to offer assistance in the most gracious way, for this and related projects.