What makes the human species different from other primates? When did we become human? We will examine these questions by reviewing the archaeological and fossil evidence for the development of human behaviour from six million years ago to the end of the last ice age.
In The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, Charles Darwin laid down his theory of evolution by natural selection. At the time, no generally recognised fossil evidence of early humans was available, and his hypothesis that humans had evolved from an ancestral ape was purely conjectural.
In the 150 years since these works were published, numerous fossils have been discovered which provide us with direct evidence for human evolution having occurred and for the path it has taken.
You will be introduced to past and present theories of human evolution through themes such as the origins of bipedal locomotion, the evolution of the brain and intelligence, technology, diet and subsistence, language, social organisation, and the emergence of art, symbolism and religion.
We will explore the major questions asked about the origins of human behaviour, and the various methods which scientists can use to search for answers.
For information on how the courses work, please click here.