Guide to BioAnthro at UCSD and beyond

This page has links to pages (both "here" and external) describing biological anthropology (in general, and courses at UCSD) and providing information on human evolution, primatology, careers, volunteer/research opportunities, conservation, and more (even some career info for sociocultural and archaeology students!). Please let me know how to make it meet your interests & needs re Biological Anthropology!

LEFT Robin McLaughlin, ex-BioAnthro student, at summer internship with language-trained dolphin in Hawaii; RIGHT Jim Moore collecting hair samples from chimpanzee nest in Ugalla, Tanzania.

Questions & comments: email me at; for more on who I am, try here

General Anthro Info

At UCSD: InfoPath (links to MELVYL and ROGER etc.); the Anthro Dept ; the Biology Dept; the CogSci Dept; the Program in Human Development [try reloading if trouble with it]; and finally the Anthropology Club.
BioAnthro courses at UCSDDescription of courses applicable to an undergraduate BioAnthro major/minor, and some notes on their scheduling. UCSD's graduate program in BioAnthro is brand new.
BioAnthro NOT at UCSDThere are a number of organizations that offer field schools, education abroad courses, and the like. Some of them have substantial scholarships. Check them out! Start by considering UC's Education Abroad Program which includes course-by-country listings for anthropology and biology.
Which major, Bio or Bioanthro?Pre-med and pre-vet students sometimes wonder if it's "OK" to major in anything other than biology. Yes, but not as a way to avoid o-chem! While we're talking pre-med: a few websites to consider: Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School; the International Society for Ecosystem Health; and Medical Anthropology Web.
Opportunities (jobs, internships etc.)Internships, volunteer positions, jobs, summer courses and the like gleaned from various listservs and other sources. Emphasis tends to be on primates, marine mammals, and environmental issues, simply because those are the listservs I follow...
MoneySome sources of money to fund undergrad research, graduate school, tuition, whatever... [For example: There are a number of grants available to UCSD students to support research projects. Amounts range from $1,500 to $3,000 and can be used for equipment, supplies, summer living expenses, etc.]
Anthro resources on the web Pointers to many sites; explore! (sometimes loads pretty slowly.... as in, come back tomorrow?)
Anthropology on the WebHas a raft of links to (d'oh) anthropology-related websites, broken down by subfield and with one-line descriptions - well worth looking at. And THIS one loads at a reasonable pace!
Anthropology grad schoolsThis and archaeology grad schools are commercial listings (no cost to you to consult!) which have varying amounts of information on different schools; Vertebrate Paleo schools is run by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. For integrated approaches to environmental management, might want to look at UCSB's Bren School of Env. Science and Management; for more programs and graduate schools in this field, see UCSD's Environmental Studies minor link page.
Careers in BioAnthroTwo handouts from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, with links, plus some comments on what you can do with a degree from UCSD's program. One career people often ask about is forensic anthropology; check out the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Inc. which has among other things links to graduate program descriptions. For medically inclined primatologists, have a look at Veterinary schools with primatology component.
CAREERS IN ANTHROPOLOGY If you have read this far and are a student of sociocultural/archaeological anthropology, congratulations! Your persistence has paid off. This site has an extensive list of organizations that hire anthropologists of all sorts in private sector and government, with links to their websites. VALUABLE!
Yet more career info Some links and comments; this is my idiosyncratic "gee, this is interesting" page, sort of a career version of the "Opportunities" page (above). Note: listing here doesn't constitute endorsement!!!
Teach for America OK, not necessarily a career in anthropology but a career that could make use of what you learned in anthropology, as well as doing some good in the world. Think about it...
Survival International and
Cultural Survival
Anthropology is not only an academic exercise. As those proverbial "wheels of progress" turn, many anthropologists find themselves witnessing indigenous peoples being rolled over--either as a matter of policy (potentially benign, as when a government tries to settle a nomadic people so that it can provide medical and social services; no easy answers...) or simply because they are in the way. These two organizations are leaders in trying to give those indigenous peoples voices, both nationally and internationally.
Societies There are a number of professional societies involved with biological anthropology; the main one is the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA), and for primatologists, check out the American Society of Primatologists (ASP). Their pages have (among other things) career and grad school information. See also the Animal Behaviour Society and Society for Marine Mammalogy, both of which have career/grad school info (the SMM site is especially useful re graduate school, whatever field you are interested in).

Human Evolution/Origins

Start with a few quick hits..Here are some sites, some about sites [sorry] and some more general: Sahelanthropus [aka Toumai], the oldest hominid fossil (as of August 2002); Handprint human evolution site offering good visual summary; Dmanisi - site overview of the oldest (1.7my) hominid site in Europe; Ice ages summarized and discussed by the Stage Three Project; kid's-eye intro to human evolution; and finally, the source for these links and MANY more, the LSB Leakey Foundation links page.
Understanding Evolution"The Understanding Evolution web site -- written for teachers but accessible to the general public -- is intended to provide "one-stop shopping" for evolution education." It is a collaboration between the National Center for Science Education and the University of California Museum of Paleontology, funded by NSF and Howard Hughes, and looks GREAT.
PBS "Evolution"This 7-part series is scheduled for showing in September 2001. The website gives brief descriptions of the episodes, from "Darin's Dangerous Idea" to "What About God?" Looks interesting, though unfortunately it looks like they bought into the idea that there was a revolutionary "event" 50,000 years ago to explain the Upper Paleolithic. Oh well, NEXT series...
Talk.Origins This site is based on a usenet group devoted to discussions of human origins;this is THE BEST PLACE to start exploring the creation/evolution debate on the web! See especially the FAQ page ("Frequently asked questions").
Neanderthals and Modern HumansGiven the question "what does it mean to be 'human'?", most people would say that chimpanzees are not quite there (wherever "there" is...). But what about ... neandertals? They weren't quite us, but they weren't clearly not us, either. Explore the puzzle here.
Human origins This site was created by a friend and colleague, Jeanne Sept, to cover both the topic and her courses. If you were in Indiana, you might be taking these classes!
Becoming Human The Institute of Human Origins (IHO) brought this site out in 2001; highly polished and up-to-date news & images.
Aquatic Ape Theory For a thorough and entertaining discussion of the theory that we went through an aquatic phase prior to Australopithecus, this is THE place to go. Erudite, witty, and insightful -- it's a Jim Moore thing... [the author of the page is yet another Jim Moore].
Bathrobe TheoryAs illustrated above and below, it can be all too easy to generate a persuasive model of human evolution from a few initial assumptions ("priors"). This article is a WONDERFUL illustration; recommended reading for anyone interested in evaluating models of human origins [and too lazy to read my paper in Great Ape Societies (1996)].
Institute for Creation Research Always interesting to see...
Could Chomsky be Wrong? One of the biggest issues in "what [if anything] makes us different" research is language, and the nativist position (identified with Chomsky, Pinker et al.) has dominated the debate for some time [language is so complex it can't be learned without a genetically specified 'language organ'; acquisition of 'that gene' is what makes us different]. This online article not only summarizes counter-arguments, it has direct links to much relevant literature. Great starting point on evolution of language!
Paleoanthropology Online A consortium of paleo-related information and links. Some excellent sites on here, including everything from sites devoted to particular dinosaur taxa to discussions of creationism, with all points between. Check it out!!
National Center for Science Education NCSE works to promote the teaching of science in schools, including (but not limited to) combating creationist efforts to exclude evolution from public school curricula.
IDEA Club at UCSDThe Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Club is a student-initiated and run club at UCSD. While the goal is promotion of "intelligent design" theories, meetings are friendly, informal and encourage discussion from all viewpoints (and often have free pizza!). It's a good venue for those interested in constructive dialog on the issue.
Behe's Empty BoxFor background reading on the "Intelligent Design" argument, Michael Behe's book "Darwin's Black Box" is essential. So are the reviews and criticisms of the book, assembled online here. You judge.
Evolution and the Fossil Record [PDF] "Although numerous lines of evidence show that life has changed through time, the concept of evolution is widely misunderstood among the general public. Evolution and the Fossil Record, an eye-catching booklet produced by the American Geological Institute in cooperation with the Paleontological Society, aims to change that situation." [from the AGI News page] Download it and see!
Disputation arenas (David Brin)The debate (in the USA, at least) over creation/evolution revolves around how we know things and how we resolve disputes when different people know fundamentally opposing things. This article by David Brin suggests a way that the internet can help out. He writes: "In the long run, the Internet will serve us best if it enhances two seemingly contradictory traits -- individualism and accountability. This may seem an odd blend, but their synergy is what brought us nearly everything we cherish about the modern era. Exploring ways to utilize this synergy, in order to create new systems of dispute resolution, will be the aim of this article."
Course handouts and descriptionsMaterials for some of my courses, plus some odds and ends. In particular: discussions of "non-ancestral ancestors" (or, why the ICR Museum doesn't mention Homo habilis and the importance of fossil names for understanding why we have racism, genocide, sexism, violence and the like (at least, that's the argument...). For another twist on the connection between politics and biology see Genotypes, phenotypes, Radcliffe-Brown and Nazism .

Anatomy and genetics

e-Skeletons ProjectThe e-Skeletons Project website enables you to view the bones of a human, gorilla, and baboon and gather information about them from an osteology database. Developed by one of the leading groups in bringing physical anthropology to the web (or vice versa), John Kappelman's group at UT Austin.
The visible human This doesn't imply most humans are invisible... rather, this site contains cutaway images of a cross-sectioned human body; see what's inside! Image-intensive and slow, but interesting.
Brain atlas Similar to above, only this time it's brains using various MR imagery etc.
Brain Info Comparative brain maps for different primates, searchable by name of structure or location on generic diagram.
Dental analysis in archaeology A nice introduction to what we can learn about dead people by looking at their teeth (hey, that's what archaeology is all about, isn't it?); it also has links to various interesting articles (my favorite title is "Ancient Beaver Teeth"). Thanks to Cailyn for finding this!

Nonhuman Primates

Electronic Zoo Just that. The definitive site for links to animal-related sites; part of Net Vet (veterinary resources) but so much more! (even includes links to bigfoot sites!)
Ethograms The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Behavioral Advisory Group has assembled a number of ethograms, for all sorts of taxa. There is no single perfect ethogram (as far as I know) but these are great starting points!
Primate Info Net The definitive primate site; includes job and internship listings in primatology, Primate-talk listserv archives, directory of primatology programs, and more!
PrimateLit A searchable database of literature on primates -- got a research paper due in a week? [tomorrow?] This is a great place to start.
Great Ape Project Discusses the ongoing efforts to legally extend "human rights" to the great apes.
Americans for Medical Progress The use of nonhumans in medical research, from the medical research perspective. See also Animals in Research and Education (by FASEB, The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology).
Retirement & sanctuaries Whether you feel they deserve equal rights or are essential to biomedical research (or both), we have an obligation to provide them with the best possible care when they "retire". Here are four excellent facilities, all of which can use your donations: Save the Chimps, Chimp Haven, Gorilla Haven, and Primarily Primates. Please help.
Bushmeat Crisis Task Force The main threat to African apes today may not be 'habitat destruction', but direct consumption. Read more, including about efforts to replace bushmeat in West African diets.
Great apes in the wild (WWF) A conservation-oriented overview of the great apes. There are many organizations working to save apes (and other animal and plant taxa) from the ongoing extinction spasm; get involved!
Primate Research Institute The Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University at Inuyama, Japan.
Yerkes Regional Primate Research Institute This is the flagship of US primate centers
Living Links In some sense a spinoff of Yerkes, the Living Links site focusses on ape research and conservation (has lots of Frans de Waal's material on bonobos and chimpanzees).
International Primate Protection League The IPPL is one of the main voices working for protection and conservation of nonhuman primates
Jane Goodall Center Links to Jane Goodall Institute and other chimpanzee-related sites
San Diego Zoo The Zoological Society of San Diego home page

General Interest

Shifting BaselinesTo understand the difference between where you are and where you go, in time as well as space, you need to understand your baseline for comparison. Visit this site. It illustrates an important concept that applies to ALL habitat, wildlife, environmental health and globalization issues. One of the names for this concept (which I like) is "the boiling frog principle". Puzzled? Look into it :-)
Mammalian systematics This is a GREAT site for exploring evolutionary relationships among mammals.
All Species Foundation This is a serious attempt "to begin the process that would eventually ensure a web page for every species and would link the efforts of taxonomists worldwide through the internet in a new way." Worth noting that one of the main motivations is to provide conservation biologists with information on what they are conserving, so there is a lot of conservation-related material here too. It is a work in progress... and will be for a few decades!
Dogpile This is my favorite web search engine, automatically searches all the standards (Yahoo, Infoseek, Webcrawler & more) based on one input query
NY Times College page Searchable by discipline, archives of stories in the New York Times. I'm not sure what (if any) filtering there is (e.g., lagtime to posting here) but it's free :-)


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