Fall 2021 - ARCH 131 D100

Human Origins (3)

Class Number: 4388

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 17, 2021
    Fri, 8:30–11:30 a.m.



A non-technical survey of the primate background of humans, fossil primates, and fossil humans, and the associated evidence of cultural development. An introduction to physical anthropology. Breadth-Social Sci/Science.


We modern humans are the only surviving species in a very old evolutionary tree: a tree we share with the living apes and monkeys, but also with many extinct species. We can trace our ancestry, and the things that make us humans unique, millions of years into the past. Over this long period we evolved from small, furry apes living in the forests of Africa to large, hairless, big-brained, socially-complex humans that spread across the whole globe. Human Origins is designed to be an introduction to this human story. It includes 6 major sections:

  1. An introduction to the history of the science of human origins;
  2. A review of the fundamentals of natural selection and evolution;
  3. An introduction to our primate cousins: their characteristics and adaptations;
  4. An examination of the fossil record: from earliest primates to the emergence of modern-looking humans (along with a look at the earliest technologies);
  5. A closer look at when, where, and how we fully modern humans appeared;
  6. And, a look at the variability among living humans and the concept of ‘race’.

NOTE: This course will be delivered entirely in-person.


  • Midterm 45%
  • Final Exam 55%



Stanford, Allen and Anton. 2016  Exploring Biological Anthropology. Premium Website with eText for Simon Fraser University, 1/e. Pearson Learning Solutions.

*Available in electronic form.

ISBN: 9781323632222

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Students with Disabilities (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

Deferred grades will be given only on the basis of authenticated medical disability.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.