Palaeoanthropology - SE541

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR M Skinner



RECOMMEND students take SE566 in stage 2 if they wish to take SE541 in stage 3.





Hominins – the array of species of which ours is the only living representative – provide the clues to our own origins. In this module, the methods and evidence used to reconstruct their biology and behaviour are discussed. This module will provide students with an advanced knowledge of human evolution, as well as techniques used in the examination of behaviour and cognition in fossil hominins. Emphasis is placed on the study of both the fossil and archaeological evidence for human evolution. By the end of the module, students will be able to assess the importance of an evolutionary perspective to the human sciences.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



BSc Biological Anthropology and associated programmes
BSc Anthropology and associated programmes

Method of assessment

100% Coursework
Poster (40%)
Poster presentation (20%)
Practical assessment – Lab (40%)

Indicative reading

Alemseged Z, Spoor F, Kimbel WH, Bobe R, Geraads D, Reed D, Wynn JG. 2006. A juvenile early hominin skeleton from Dikika, Ethiopia. Nature 443:296-301.

Bermudez de Castro and Martinon-Torres (2012) A new model for the evolution of the human Pleistocene populations of Europe. Quaternary International doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2012.02.036

Conroy, G.C. and Pontzer, H. (2012) Reconstructing Human Origins: A Modern Synthesis, 3rd Edition. New York: W.W. Norton.

Klein R.G. (2009). The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins, 3rd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Leakey et al (2012) New fossils from Koobi Fora in northern Kenya confirm taxonomic diversity in early Homo. Nature 488:201-204.

Wood B, Harrison T (2011) The evolutionary context of the first hominins. Nature 470:347-352

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 competently assess evidence and articulate theories concerning the biological and cultural evolution of humans;
8.2 critically evaluate arguments and data in the field of palaeoanthropology;
8.3 summarise the key stages in the pattern of human anatomical and cultural evolution;
8.4 understand how palaeoanthropologists reconstruct hominin behaviour;
8.5 critically evaluate scientific papers and contribute to academic discussions and debates.

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