Introduces principles of evolution and animal behavior (including human). Considers genetic, physiological, and evolutionary explanations of behaviors. Topics include evolution and natural selection, genetic inheritance, DNA structure and function, basic cell structure and function, innate behaviors, learning, motivation, communication, aggression, sexual behavior, territoriality, play, vestigial behaviors, selfishness, and altruism.
Goals, Topics, and Objectives
- What is science?
- What is life?
- What is evolution?
- What is natural selection?
- Who was Charles Darwin?
- How do physiological or proximal and evolutionary or ultimate explanations answer “why” questions, but teleological explanations do not?
- Why do we have diseases like Ebola virus, cancer, and cystic fibrosis?
- Why do bacteria develop antibiotic resistance? Why do we age?
- What characteristics define and distinguish animals?
- What are animal behavior, ethology, and behavioral biology?
- What are the evolutionary and genetic bases of social behavior?
- What is meant by gene selfishness, and how does the concept explain the course of evolution?
- How do cells divide and animals reproduce?
- That are the roles of genes, chromosomes, and proteins in determining physical and behavioral traits?
- How do chromosomes determine sex?
- What are the mechanisms of evolutionary change, and how do they cause evolution to occur?
- What is a species, and how do species form and become extinct?
- What evidence supports evolution?
- What is the history of human evolution?
- How do humans compare and contrast with the great apes?
- What is culture?
- What are the causes of conflict between groups?
Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
- Provide a working definition of science.
- List the characteristics of living organisms.
- Summarize the processes of evolution natural selection.
- Describe the life and discoveries of Charles Darwin.
- Distinguish between proximate and evolutionary explanations.
- Explain the proximal and evolutionary causes of diseases like Ebola virus, cancer, and cystic fibrosis.
- Explain why bacteria develop antibiotic resistance.
- Speculate on the question of why we age.
- Describe the characteristics of an animal.
- Describe the genetic bases and evolutionary development of social behavior, including the concept of the selfish gene.
- Define Animal Behavior, Ethology and Behavioral Biology.
- Compare and contrast mitosis and meiosis.
- Describe the roles that genes, chromosomes, and proteins and play in determining traits.
- Describe how chromosomes determine sex in various animals, especially humans.
- Describe the mechanisms of evolutionary change how they cause evolution to occur.
- State the biological definition of a species.
- Describe causes of extinction.
- Explain scientific evidence that supports evolution.
- Compare and contrast humans and the great apes.
- Describe the history of human evolution.
- Compare and contrast human societies with societies of other animals and evaluate culture as it might relate to other animals.
- Propose explanations for the causes of conflict between groups.
Assessment and Requirements
The main method of assessment of student learning will be lecture exams that include objective and short essay questions. Additional assignments will also be included.
- Natural Sciences
- Scientific Reasoning
- Category 6.1: Natural Sciences