This module will provide you with an advanced understanding of the ecology and evolution of the group of mammals to which we belong.
It will give a broad overview of primate evolution, from the origins of the order around 65 million years ago to the present days. The module will look at genetic and fossil evidence for primate evolution, and competing hypotheses of primate phylogeny.
As evolution and ecology are interlinked, you will study principles of primate ecology and behaviour, including size, diet, habitat exploitation, activity pattern, socioecology, sensory biology, life history, and community structure, with reference to the extant families of primates. You will also consider the hominin radiation in the context of the evolution and ecology of other primate groups.
The module will start with a general introduction to the mammalian and primate radiation before focusing on the specific topics mentioned above. The material will be presented via an hour-long lecture and seven two-hour seminars, supported by pre-recorded online lectures.
Tutor: Dr Phil Cox
Assessment: Poster 30%, timed exam 70%
The hard tissue biology module will allow you to develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of skeletal and dental tissues. It will focus on the structure and development of these tissues and, by introducing you to biomechanics, their function.
Weekly topics include tooth development and function, including enamel, dentine, cementum, periodontal ligament; cartilage and bone development, growth and remodelling, the structure and function of muscle, tendon and ligament; the mechanical properties of skeletal and dental tissues; the interface of tendons and ligaments with bone.
Each week a topic is introduced in a lecture and, using a combination of self-directed learning and presentations and discussions in the seminar, you will critically assess the literature to broaden and deepen your learning around the topic. The practical class will cover comparative anatomy and histology.
Tutor: Dr Sam Cobb
Assessment: Written assignment 60%, timed exam 40%
This module provides the opportunity to develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of the hominin fossil record. It focuses particularly on the interpretation of anatomical material and current methods. The module will begin with an overview of the hominin fossil record and in subsequent weeks will focus on different anatomical regions.
Each week a topic is explored using a combination of self-directed learning, and presentations and discussion in the seminar, you will critically assess the literature to broaden and deepen your learning around the topic. Practical sessions will expose you to casts of the major fossil specimens as well as comparative material.
Tutor: Dr Laura Fitton
Assessment: Written assignment (open book) 60%, timed exam 40%
This module will allow you to undertake an in-depth project in a topic related to human anatomy and evolution. You will be encouraged to choose a subject from the research areas of members of tutorial staff (currently including mammalian hard tissue biology, development and ontogeny, geometric morphometrics, functional morphology, imaging techniques).
With the support of a tutor, you will review the recent and significant literature, formulate a research question, write a detailed project proposal, undertake original research (which can include projects based on systematic review of the current literature / reanalysis of existing datasets), present your aims and preliminary results in a 15-minute presentation, and write up your research in a 15000-word dissertation.
Tutor: Dr Phil Cox
Assessment: Oral presentation 20%, dissertation 70%