Course-related materials

for Jim Moore's classes (and other folks too)

This site is intended to be a help to students; if something's not working or is confusing, I'd like to know about it so I can fix it. Please send comments on the site (and the use of web-based teaching materials in general) to me at

If you happen to want to use any of these materials other than Steve Parish's "Overworked Student's Practical Guide..." for any educational purposes, please go ahead and do so. For that one, you'd need to contact Steve [you can get him via the UCSD anthro dept web page]; it's copyrighted.

ANTH42: Primates in NatureWe're primates ourselves and are interested in our Order because it gives us a unique perspective on who we are and where we came from. This is not the only perspective; we can learn about ourselves from studies of dolphins, or parrots for that matter. This class is an introduction to primates and primatology. The "in nature" part is there because the focus is on primates themselves, out in the wild.
About class papersGeneral suggestions about writing papers for my courses. Formatting, reference citation, word limits, etc. This is short, sweet, idiosyncratic; "Guide to Term Papers" (below) covers everything, and "Research Papers" is more about what they are, plagiarism etc.
CheatingPlagiarism is dealt with in passing in Research papers and Guide to term papers, below, but I'm still catching (and failing & reporting) students doing things they really shouldn't. This site (run by my esteemed colleague David Jordan) goes into detail, with examples, about cheating (inc. esp. plagiarism) and it's consequences at UCSD. If you're in my class, you're responsible for knowing this stuff.
Literacy in term papersAnother of Prof. Jordan's websites; in his words: "This short (if growing) guide has been developed over many years in response to particularly common mechanical and usage errors that I keep finding in student termpapers, theses, and dissertations."
Guide to term papers The online version of Steve Parish's "Overworked Student's Practical Guide to Writing Term Papers for Anthropology (and related subjects)". If you're a student, are overworked, and have to write a paper... well, read it.
Research papers--short form This is a handout I wrote that covers topics similar to Parish's, with the exception that I've included some "sample papers" to illustrate common conceptual errors. They are short and I hope useful.
J. R. Platt 1964: Strong Inference [PDF] This paper, published in Science 146: 347-353, is a classic discussion of how we know things when we don't want to blindly accept an "authority" (like Aristotle, or a religious text) but cannot experimentally or logically prove them -- i.e., nearly everything in science.
Who cares about fossil names, anyhow?It has been argued that proper examination of evolutionary theory and the fossil record can account for communism, homosexuality, oppression of women, racism... and you can't do it properly without getting the details right.
Non-ancestral "ancestors"Creation scientists sometimes attack the idea that we evolved on the grounds that if we don't know which hominid around at a particular time was our ancestor, or the name we apply to a set of fossils has problems, then the ancestor doesn't exist and so we must have been created, not evolved. This is faulty logic; see this page for an analogy that might help see why.
World population historyOne of the elements of human evolution to which we pay little attention in the Human Origins class is total population (partly because the early estimates are so uncertain). But it is interesting to put the Pleistocene into a population perspective. This is a graph of estimated world population from 10,000 years ago up to 30 years from now. The estimates come from the UN; if they are even close, it's an impressive figure.
Background on nerves and hormonesThis grossly oversimplified look at how nerves and hormones work is intended to provide just enough detail to convince you that it is possible to go from strings of nucleotides on chromosomes (aka, DNA) to complex structures and behaviors; the mechanisms do exist, we're not just waving our hands and saying "presto". Not all the time, anyhow.
Mental models: How do our minds work?BioAnthro tends to focus on the wetware, but thinking is not fully explained once you understand what an axon is. This paper (by UCSD grad student Brian Derfer) is a good introduction to some of the questions being asked by cognitive anthropologists (among others).
AllometryThis is a handout that attempts to explain the use of allometric analysis in comparative studies, focussing on relative brain size in primates as an example.
BioAnthro in filmsA listing of some films that draw on biological anthropology for inspiration, along with some questions to ask yourself then next time you watch Encino Man.

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