Focus on a primate that we have talked about in class and compare and contrast that primate with humans.

Information on your Paper


This section contains important information on your paper, including the papers length, the topics you should write about, requirements on writing mechanics for your paper, and the due date.

Paper Length

Your writing assignment will be an 8 to 10 page paper.

Paper Topic

Option 1: Focus on a primate that we have talked about in class and compare and contrast that primate with humans. These comparisons might look at for example social behavior, tool use, territoriality, hunting, meat-eating, male-female relations, presence or absence of an estrus cycle, etc. Most of your information for your paper will come from our “primate film festival”; however this can be augmented by resources that I will provide you on Blackboard in the course documents section. The Primates we will cover in depth are: Lemurs, Baboons, Orangutans, Gorillas, Chimps, and Bonobos.

Option 2: You are a young hotshot physical Anthropologist with the discovery of the century. We probably know less about Homo erectus then we did 20 years ago. But your new site and find answer all the questions. Tell me what Homo erectus was really like and what data proves your case. How were they like humans and how were they different.

Option 3: Poor old Neanderthal has been seen at one time or other as either a very close ancestor or as a side branch that died off. They are seen as intermediary between Homo erectus and us, or as being quite a different kind of a creature. For example, think about the two different interpretations of Neanderthal I gave you and how different that they were: one a Time-Life story of Neanderthal and the other Binford’s interpretation. How have our interpretations of Neanderthal changed through time? What are the differences and similarities between Neanderthal and Homo sapiens, and what does it say about the relationship between them?

Option 4: What do you think the gender roles of our early ancestors were? What roles did Females play and what roles did males play? Were they different? How did they change from Australopithecus, to Homo habilis, to Homo erectus, to Neanderthal, and to Homo sapiens? What evidence do you have to support this view, and why is the debate over the gender roles of our early ancestors so hotly debated?

Option 5: Liberal Studies is one of the largest majors in the University and there are a growing numbers of students who are looking to make teaching their carrier. The material in this course lends itself to use in the classroom (K – 12th grade). Kids love this kind of material, but sadly are exposed too little of it in their schools. Now is your opportunity to create a lesson plan that involves Physical Anthropology. You should follow a standard lesson plan format. The subheadings you should cover are: objectives, vocabulary, background, setting the stage, procedure, closure, evaluation, and references if any. I have an example that I can provide you if you need one.

Option 6: You are a physical anthropologist of the future and you are lucky enough to be around when they have discovered how to make time machines. You zap ahead to the year 1,002,003 AD. You find that there are now two forms of hominids present on the planet. Describe these two new forms of humans and what are the relationships between them. Also, using the basic principles of evolution, how can you explain their physical state, and how did these two new forms of the human species evolve.

Option 7: Another version of option 5 is that you are a physical anthropologist of the future and you are lucky enough to be around when they have discovered how to make time machines. You zap ahead to the year 1,002,003 AD. Amazingly enough chimps did not go extinct, even though you’re Anthro. 161 professors said they would. What is the impact of a million years of evolution on the chimpanzee? Using the basic principles of evolution, explain how their appearance has changed. How is their adaptation different, if at all? Have they taken on any more human like traits?

Writing format

Before you start writing your paper, please produce an out line. The main headings of this outline will provide the subheadings for your paper, which should be underlined. Headings are sign posts that tell the reader where you are going – good idea! A logical progression in the presentation of your ideas and headings will go a long way to improving the quality of your paper. All too often I have felt like a wonderer in the wilderness with no Idea where my students are taking me. It was as if they had randomly typed ideas about the topic into there computer and then called it a paper.

You are expected to run your paper through a speller-checker and grammar-checker, and then make corrections to the errors. If you do not have one, and this is hard to imagine, have a human speller-checker and grammar-checker read it over. Even if you are using the computer version to do this it is not a bad idea to have someone look over your paper.

You should cite sources in text, rather than give me footnotes. The format you should use is (Name of author Year: pages). Thus a citation will look like this: (Pryor 1999: 23-24). You should also provide a bibliography for the sources of the things you cite. Do not use too many quotations. The rule of thumb is, only quote when the other person said it better than you could. Don’t let someone else write your paper by quotes

Due Date

Your paper is due Nov. 21th. If you use this please format your paper in Word or html!!!!!!


Please have a conclusion in your papers that wraps up and summarizes your thoughts on the topic that you are writing about.

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