Human Origins (ARC2127)

StaffProfessor Linda Hurcombe - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module will cover the current theories and data but highlight how these shift. This will lead into a better understanding of how knowledge is created and used.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Know and understand the role of key sites and areas
  • 2. Appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of different evidence categories

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Provide a competent overview and use thematic knowledge
  • 4. Synthesise and evaluate terms, concepts and examples
  • 5. Research a topic guided by a reading list and synthesise data from disparate sources.
  • 6. Interpret a variety of information forms

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Respond to comments in discussion and ask pertinent questions.
  • 8. Act on constructive criticism, self reflect on progress and cooperate with and learn from peers.

Syllabus plan

Key species in the evolutionary pathway; Out of Africa I and II; African and Asian evidence; early tool-making and using; taphonomy; contributions from primate studies; current controversies

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 2211 x 2 hour weekly classes
Guided independent study 128Independent study to include wider reading and preparation for classes and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class based discussions and group interactionsPoster-style work by interactive groups1,7,8Peers and staff verbal comment

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critique (including supporting tables, diagrams and images)401500 words2,3,4,5,6,Written feedback
Project (including extensive supporting tables, diagrams and images)602000 words2,3,4,5,6,Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
CritiqueCritiqueRefer/Defer period
ProjectProjectRefer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The reading will vary between classic excavation reports such as Leakey 1971; syntheses of types of information or regions e.g. Dennell 2009 to classic short papers in journals such as Nature and Journal of Human Evolution on key ideas or types of fossils.

Dennell, R. 2009 The Palaeolithic Settlement of Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University press

Dennell, R. and Roebroeks, W. 2005  An Asian perspective on early human dispersal from Africa Nature 438:1099-1104

Leakey, M. 1971 Olduvai Gorge vol 3,   Cambridge: Cambridge University press

Morwood, M. et al. 2004Archaeology and age of a new hominin from Flores in eastern Indonesia Nature 431, 1087--1091

Strait, D. et al. 2012 Microwear, mechanics and the feeding adaptations of Australopithecus africanus, Journal of human Evolution 62:165-168.

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Key words search

Human Origins, Evolution