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Macquarie University

Becoming Human: Anthropology

Macquarie University via Open2Study

This course may be unavailable.


Impressively, humans are the only creatures produced by evolution that are capable of understanding evolution. In Becoming Human: Anthropology, you can explore how evolution works and how variation arises.

Find out why, of all the orders of life, primates produced us. How did apes start to look like us, walk on two feet and grow big brains that over the past 200,000 years have figured out where we came from? This course will give you some thought-provoking answers.

What will I learn?
  • Basic evolutionary concepts
  • The traces of human evolution in our bodies
  • Darwin’s contributions to evolutionary theory
  • The genetic dimensions of human evolution
  • The processes of cooperation and symbiosis
  • Niche creation, learning, and other types of inheritance
  • The differences between men and women
  • Why sex is so important to evolution
  • The role of our needy babies
  • 'Natural’ human sexuality
  • What brains are good for
  • The cost of having a big brain
  • Tools, technology and new evolutionary tricks
  • Whether or not human evolution is over

This course requires approximately 2 - 4 hours of study per week, but can vary depending on the student. This includes watching videos, and taking quizzes and assessments.

If you pass this course you'll receive a Certificate of Achievement. While this certificate isn't a formal qualification or credit, you can use it to demonstrate your interest in learning about this area to potential employers or educational institutions.

Where could this lead me?

If you're wondering what your future could look like in this area, here are some potential careers you could head towards.

  • Researcher
  • Scientist
  • Policy Adviser



Taught by

Assoc. Prof. Greg Downey


4.7 rating, based on 12 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Becoming Human: Anthropology

  • Robert Loring

    Robert Loring completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Professor Downey is fantastic! This was a great course with some great new information including genomic info. The forum is great as well and there was much student participation adding to a great experience. I recommend this course to anyone interested in humanity.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Excellent presentation. Learned a lot and hugely enjoyed the material and teaching style. One of the first moocs I did, and it got me hooked. It also opened the door to other interesting topics and resources. Most importantly to me, it introduced me to Robert Sapolsky and his amazing lecture series.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I absolutely loved this mooc. It's not what I had expected; perhaps I have a wrong idea about the field of anthropology. Nevertheless, I learned so many new things! I highly recommend it!
  • Maboroshi completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Quite nice. The courseware is engaging, although some topics are restricted to open2study platform to be further developed. At least one can really learn something from the lectures, I think.
  • Nathan completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    Excellent course, it has very intriguing material, and high production quality. I found it really engaging. Recommended for everyone who's interested in evolution and anthropology.
  • Peter O'Brien completed this course.

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