OSHR 1854 - Are You Part Neanderthal? What Else? And Why Should You, Too, Love Lucy?

  • Noncredit
  • Fort Collins

This course is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Colorado State University. You must be a member of Osher to enroll in this course.

The primary objective of this class is to weave strands of evidence from the rock record into a tapestry depicting humanity’s five million-year evolutionary history, from the earliest hominids to modern humans.

Questions to be addressed include geography (why East Africa?), climatology (did climate change play a role?), relative and absolute dating (how old are the hominid fossils?), the fossils themselves (what parts, pieces, other evidence?), taphonomy (how is that evidence preserved?), nomenclature (why are there so many names and why are they chosen?), newly described Skull 5 (what does its fossil assemblage tell us about early man?), lifestyles (blood-thirsty killers or foragers/scavengers?).

Finally, the $64 question - what sort of family tree can we construct for ourselves? Is it really a big deal that 2.5 percent of my DNA is Neanderthal?

Readings: (Optional ) Either Johanson & Shreeve; Lucy’s Child - The Discovery of a Human Ancestor, ISBN: 0-688-06492-2 or Leakey & Lewin; Origins Reconsidered - In Search of What Makes us Human, ISBN: 0-385-41264-9 (Books available online.)

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.