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BIOA101 Introduction to Biological Anthropology

An introduction to Biological Anthropology, focusing on the biocultural and evolutionary processes and how these have shaped who we are today.

This paper provides an introduction to Biological Anthropology, which is broadly defined as the scientific study of humankind from a biocultural perspective. The paper will focus on the evolutionary process and how it shaped who we are today. You will be introduced to the study of the evolution of humans from both micro- and macro-evolutionary perspectives - and will thus be introduced to basic evolutionary theory and the application of a biocultural perspective to understanding human evolution and variation. You will then be introduced to principles and concepts from basic genetics, comparative anatomy, primatology, palaeoanthropology (the study of the fossil record of hominins), human skeletal anatomy, biomedical anthropology and the evolution of human behaviour.

Paper title Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Paper code BIOA101
Subject Biological Anthropology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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BIOA 201
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
Students who have passed BIOA201 are not permitted to take BIOA101.

Anatomy Office Room 231
2nd Floor
Lindo Ferguson Building (LFB)
Tel 479 7362

Teaching staff

2023 teaching staff to be confirmed. Please contact the Department for more information.

Teaching Arrangements
All teaching is undertaken on campus.

Required: Jurmain et al, (2017), ‘Essentials of Physical Anthropology’, 10th Edn., Boston:USA, Cengage Learning

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students will:
  • Develop a basic understanding of the key concepts of the field of Biological Anthropology, in particular the biocultural approach and its importance in the study of human history, health, variation and adaptation
  • Develop an understanding of basic evolutionary theory and its application to the history of our species and that of our ancestors and other primates
  • Develop and be able to apply critical thinking skills and basic research skills including essay writing
  • Demonstrate ability to use the University library and electronic resources to undertake basic research
  • Demonstrate ability to write and to use and cite appropriate references in the academic style of the discipline

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
D1 Thursday 11:00-11:50 28, 30, 32, 34, 37, 39, 41
E1 Friday 11:00-11:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 29-33, 36-40
A2 Tuesday 16:00-17:50 29-33, 36-40