Spring 2018

The Evolution of Human Nature

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as ANTH-114  |  Biology, as BIOL-114

Formerly listed as: BIOL-14


William F. Zimmerman (Section 01)


(Offered as BIOL 114 and ANTH 114)  After consideration of the relevant principles of animal behavior, genetics, and population biology, it will be shown that extensions of the theory of natural selection---kin selection, reciprocal altruism, parent-offspring conflict, sexual selection, and parental manipulation of sex ratios---provide unifying explanations for the many kinds of social interactions found in nature, from those between groups, between individuals within groups and between genes within individuals. The emphasis throughout will be on the special physical, social and psychological adaptations that humans have evolved, including the instincts to create language and culture, conflict and cooperation within and between the sexes, moral emotions, the mating system and family, kinship and inheritance, reciprocity and exchange, cooking, long distance running, homicide, socioeconomic hierarchies, warfare, patriarchy, religions and religious beliefs, deceit and self-deception, systems of laws and justice and the production, performance and appreciation of art. Along the way, we will consider how misrepresentations of evolutionary theory have been used to support political and social ideologies and, more recently, to attack evolutionary theory itself as scientifically flawed and morally corrupt.

Limited to 30 students.  Professor Emeritus Zimmerman.


BIOL 114 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM MERR 4
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM MERR 4


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018