Introduction to Human Evolution

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9/10 stars
based on  7 reviews
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edX online courses
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Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with edX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
Business & Management
24445 reviews

Course Description

As contemporary humans, we are a product of our evolutionary past. That past can be directly observed through the study of the human fossil record, the materials preserved for archaeological study, and the DNA of living and extinct human populations. This course will provide an overview of human evolutionary history from the present--contemporary human variation in a comparative context--through our last common ancestor with the living great apes, some 5-7 million years in the past. Emphasis will be placed on major evolutionary changes in the development of humans and the methodological approaches used by paleoanthropologists and related investigators to develop that knowledge.

The course will begin by asking basic questions about how evolution operates to shape biological variation and what patterns of variation look like in living humans and apes. We will then look at how the human lineage first began to differentiate from apes,...

As contemporary humans, we are a product of our evolutionary past. That past can be directly observed through the study of the human fossil record, the materials preserved for archaeological study, and the DNA of living and extinct human populations. This course will provide an overview of human evolutionary history from the present--contemporary human variation in a comparative context--through our last common ancestor with the living great apes, some 5-7 million years in the past. Emphasis will be placed on major evolutionary changes in the development of humans and the methodological approaches used by paleoanthropologists and related investigators to develop that knowledge.

The course will begin by asking basic questions about how evolution operates to shape biological variation and what patterns of variation look like in living humans and apes. We will then look at how the human lineage first began to differentiate from apes, the rise and fall of the Australopithecines, the origin and dispersal of the genus Homo, and eventually the radical evolutionary changes associated with the development of agricultural practices in the past 15,000 years. Throughout the course students will be exposed to the primary data, places and theories that shape our understanding of human evolution.

Reviews 9/10 stars
7 Reviews for Introduction to Human Evolution

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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George C profile image
George C profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 completed
6 years, 1 month ago
The prerequisites [in my opinion]: Knowledge of basic genetics and basic anatomy (at the start of the course you are asked to memorize the names of a large number of bones) The lectures: Rating: 5 STARS The professor is very clear, the lectures cover a lot of information, and although the course runs for 12 weeks you will not be bored at all. You will learn a lot about anatomy and how to analyse skeletons and skulls (very interesting subject). Quizzes and exams: Rating: 4 STARS The style adopted in "some" of the "graded" questions was to ask about something not mentioned in the lectures nor the readings, then to learn about it afterwards, which left some students frustrated. Aside from that the MCQs were very helpful and help you a lot in learning the material. The readings: Although the readings were very interesting, there was a lot of material required to read, if you were to read every req... The prerequisites [in my opinion]: Knowledge of basic genetics and basic anatomy (at the start of the course you are asked to memorize the names of a large number of bones) The lectures: Rating: 5 STARS The professor is very clear, the lectures cover a lot of information, and although the course runs for 12 weeks you will not be bored at all. You will learn a lot about anatomy and how to analyse skeletons and skulls (very interesting subject). Quizzes and exams: Rating: 4 STARS The style adopted in "some" of the "graded" questions was to ask about something not mentioned in the lectures nor the readings, then to learn about it afterwards, which left some students frustrated. Aside from that the MCQs were very helpful and help you a lot in learning the material. The readings: Although the readings were very interesting, there was a lot of material required to read, if you were to read every required article, the course would take a lot longer than the estimated time per week on the home page. Some articles had more than 20 pages. Note: I did not do most of the readings and I passed the course with high grades. Highly recommended for everyone interested in evolution or biology in general.
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Student

10/10 starsCompleted
6 years, 8 months ago
Truly wonderful course. A great introduction not merely into human evolution but into the tools for analysis of skeletons and artifacts. Content is not "dumbed down" like some are for the MOOC environment. Very highly recommended. (Plus, it's very interesting to get a glimpse into the way classrooms at the famous girls' school works.) Enjoyed the class, enjoyed the content, enjoyed the professor, enjoyed the venue. A real winner.
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Eliza Bennett profile image
Eliza Bennett profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 completed
7 years, 1 month ago
I loved everything about this course. The professor is dedicated and extremely knowledgeable. The course is well thought out and covers the topic very well. New discoveries in the field were incorporated into the course as they became available. The course material would definitely be challenging depending on your area of expertise. As others have said there were a few problems with quiz questions occasionally, however this was the first iteration of the course so some glitches are understandable, and also the prof made every attempt to correct any problems. He also participated on our Facebook study group page. If he offers this course again, I will definitely repeat it. This was my first MOOC and the best one I've taken. I came away from it feeling that I'd learned so much about this fascinating and exciting topic!
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vaggelas profile image
vaggelas profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 28 reviews
  • 26 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
I am not expert in this field but i like anthropology a lot and have completed some lessons in this field. This was a very nice course by a very prestigious University that i really enjoyed.It had no prereqs and it was 12 weeks long. Day Of Completion 10 January 2014 What i Liked: \- Very good and knowledgeable professor that loves to teach. \- Course team put a lot of effort in this course with many different shooting locations for video lectures. \- Due dates were the end of the couse,so you could join anytime before the end of the course and complete the course. \- Tons of additionals materials and articles provided during the course. \- Video lectures most of the times,were small.<10 mins,sometimes <5 mins \- Midterm and Final were neither hard nor easy. What i didn't like: \- Homeworks were kind of hard and tricky sometimes. \- It would be nicer if terminology translations would be provided with the course,cause it was hard and ... I am not expert in this field but i like anthropology a lot and have completed some lessons in this field. This was a very nice course by a very prestigious University that i really enjoyed.It had no prereqs and it was 12 weeks long. Day Of Completion 10 January 2014 What i Liked: \- Very good and knowledgeable professor that loves to teach. \- Course team put a lot of effort in this course with many different shooting locations for video lectures. \- Due dates were the end of the couse,so you could join anytime before the end of the course and complete the course. \- Tons of additionals materials and articles provided during the course. \- Video lectures most of the times,were small.<10 mins,sometimes <5 mins \- Midterm and Final were neither hard nor easy. What i didn't like: \- Homeworks were kind of hard and tricky sometimes. \- It would be nicer if terminology translations would be provided with the course,cause it was hard and time consuming to check wikipedia for everything. \- Eventhough i think video lectures were great and the team put a lot of effort in them,i believe that slides during the video lectures or video graphics would be better. \- I am very familiar with maths and statistics so i had no problem but i really believe that the maths and stat in some homeworks were REALLY REALLY unnecessary for an anthropology course.
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Magdeleena profile image
Magdeleena profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
Very engaging lectures, and thought provoking homework/lab assignments. Definitely makes sure that you're using your brain to understand what was covered. It was really great to take the class as so much new research was being released!
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steffen schwientek profile image
steffen schwientek profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 7 reviews
  • 4 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
Easy introduction for the fossile evidence of Human Evolution. Had no problems to follow the topics, but: The homeworks (mostly multiple choice questions) are ambigous, failed sometimes (specially at the beginning) to interpret the questions correctly. The "Lab homeworks" were much better organized.
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cleamc profile image
cleamc profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
7 years, 10 months ago
It was great to be taking the class as so many discoveries were happening, which lent a real-time excitement to being able to directly apply and understand the topics which we'd just covered. The biggest stumbling block for me was the maths aspect, and while that's my own weakness and nothing to do with the quality of the course, if you're not too confident with numbers make sure you find a reliable on-line scientific calculator site.
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