Introduction Letter – Online Course
Anthropology 101 – Spring 2007

Welcome to Anthropology 101 online!

The following is information to help you succeed in this class. Please read it carefully and feel free to email me (Rebecca Stein - if you have any questions.

What You Should Know About the Content of the Class

This course is an introduction to the anthropological study of human biology and human evolution. Topics include the mechanisms of evolutionary change, genetics, human variation, and the reconstruction of human evolutionary history through an examination of the fossil record and through the use of comparative studies of our closest biological relatives, the living monkeys, and apes.  The course will also explore what implications evolutionary theory has for understanding modern humans.
      The perspective of this course is that in order to understand modern human anatomy and behavior, you need to have an understanding of how humans evolved.  There are four steps to this process, which correspond roughly to the four units of the course.  First, we need to understand how evolution works, including a discussion of natural selection and human genetics. Second, we can look at how evolution works specifically on the Order Primates (which includes prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans).  Through comparative studies of natural history, anatomy, behavior, and DNA, we gain many useful clues about human evolution.  Third, we need to look specifically at the history of the human lineage, examining the fossil record to determine where our ancestors came from and what they were like.  Finally, we look at modern humans, including the examination of contemporary human variation.

What You Should Know About the Structure of the Class

What You Need to Do

How to Contact Me

I look forward to meeting you all in the discussion forums online during the first week of classes.  If you need to contact me before then (or during the class), my email address is

My campus phone number is 818-947-2538 and if you are on campus, my office is in bungalow three.