Summer 2024 - ARCH 131 OL01

Human Origins (3)

Class Number: 3652

Delivery Method: Online


  • Course Times + Location:


  • Exam Times + Location:

    Jun 21, 2024
    Fri, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Dennis Sandgathe
    1 778 782-4817



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 online. Students will access the course materials (powerpoint lectures with audio, links to videos, Study Questions and Group Discussions) via Canvas. Students will also take the midterm and final exams via Canvas.


  • Midterm 25%
  • Study Questions / Group Discussions 15%
  • Short Quizzes 30%
  • Final Exam 30%



Available in electronic form:
Stanford, Allen and Anton. Exploring Biological Anthropology: The Essentials. Fourth edition.
ISBN: 9780134014142


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Department Undergraduate Notes:

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 ( or 778-782-3112) 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 website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.