MODULE DESCRIPTION 2015-16

SPRING SEMESTER 15 CREDITS
AAP6134 CURRENT ISSUES IN PALAEOANTHROPOLOGY
CO-ORDINATOR: KEVIN KUYKENDALL
OTHER TUTORS: PIA NYSTROM

MODULE OUTLINE

This module will introduce students to current research issues in the field of palaeoanthropology through a series of staff and student-led seminars covering current staff research, new fossil finds, and important methodological and philosophical issues in the field. In some weeks, students will be required to prepare relevant materials and lead seminars on selected topics, working either in groups or alone. The suggested topics to be covered will change from year to year, depending on staff research, guest lecturer availability, student interests, and current developments in palaeoanthropological research.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This unit aims to:

  • Survey ongoing developments in palaeoanthropological research
  • Provide exposure to practical and theoretical concerns in the field through readings, discussion, and group preparation
  • Provide opportunities for students to present seminar topics and receive feedback on presentation skills and content (each student is required to complete one group and one individual seminar)
  • Stimulate interest in the dynamic range of research currently conducted in palaeoanthropology and related fields

MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • recent and ongoing research and issues in the broad field of palaeoanthropology;
  • current research methods, theoretical debates, and philosophical issues in palaeoanthropology;
  • one current issue in palaeoanthropology in sufficient depth to write the final essay for the module

EXAMPLES OF LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES/TUTORIALS

Our lectures/seminars are highly participative and taught by leaders in their field.

  • Staff seminar 1: Staff research seminar;
  • What is a species? Taxonomy, classification and species concepts;
  • Primate origins and the search for nodes: palaeontological and biomolecular approaches;
  • Evolution of bipedalism; classifying locomotor behaviour;
  • Extant primate models for the evolution of stone tools and culture;
  • Recent Reports in Palaeoanthropology.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS ACQUIRED

  • Discussion and analysis of current and ongoing research reports in various disciplines;
  • Evaluation and synthesis of different viewpoints on a controversial topic;
  • Independent research and group collaboration in preparing for discussion sessions;
  • the implementation of effective presentation skills through practice and feedback provided;
  • Scientific writing skills to present a coherent position (in essay format) in relation to a dynamic and challenging research issue.

STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type

Hours

Seminars 15
Independent Study (including preparation for assessments) 135

ASSESSMENT

Method

% of marks

Hours/Length

Seminar 25% 30 mins each, including discussion
Essay 75% 3000 words