Course Detail
Course Components:
Humans engage in a marvelous diversity of physical activities, from running marathons, to ballet dancing, to fingerpicking guitars. Such activities are not only beautiful, but also characterize who we are as a species. Today, human physical activity is also among the strongest determinants of our health and longevity. The course considers the evolutionary factors underlying how and why humans use our bodies the ways we do, and why differences between past and present human physical activity patterns may be causing our bodies to malfunction and suffer from illnesses that our ancestors managed to avoid. The course draws from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleoanthropology, behavioral ecology, comparative biology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and medicine to address critical questions such as: • If exercise is so good for you, why do so many people dislike or avoid it? • Is it bad to slouch? Are humans comparatively slow and weak? • Is exercise ineffective for losing weight? • Does running ruin your knees? • How much does exercise affect our vulnerability to cancer or infectious disease? Note: Graduate students enrolled in ANTH 6451 will be assigned a number of extra readings, and will be required to complete their journal assignments with extra questions focusing the graduate readings. In addition, the final project expectations will be considerably higher for graduate students and their final project should be of sufficient quality that it could be submitted as a real proposal at the time it is due.