What is the course about?
The course will take you back to a time before modern humans existed, when apes ruled the primate world. To date, we have identified as many as 40 groups of fossil apes from the ancient Miocene period (22 - 5.5 million years ago). This is 8 times the number that survive today. This wide diversity seems to have characterised the ape family from the outset - almost as soon as apes appear in the fossil record, there are lots of different species. But what happened to the ape species that died out and why did other apes survive to modern times? Where did they come from and evolve? - was it in Africa or Eurasia? In this course, we will focus on the ancestral forms of modern apes - from their anatomy, the environment they lived in and their evolutionary journey.
What will we cover?
- Introduction to primate anatomy
- How to gain information from fossils of apes
- Key topics in Great Ape evolution (e.g. where they evolved, why they were so successful, why they disappeared)
- Great Apes around the world - geography, climate and behaviour
- Introduction to primate classification
- Implications of ape evolution / the historical fossil record on modern conservation efforts.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Name the main ancestral ape species, describe where they lived and what they looked like
- Describe the main anatomical features of primates and Great Apes
- Outline and discuss some of the central debates in Great Ape evolution (including their emergence and disappearance)
- Explain the implications that ape evolution has on the future of living apes around the world.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This in an introductory course and is open to all. No prior knowledge of the subject is required. However, you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course and to participate fully in discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught in a number of different ways including presentations with visual examples, discussions and group work.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Bring a notepad and pen. There are no other costs for the course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HS175 Introduction to human evolution
HS154 One million years of human evolution in London
HS094 The history of science
HS201 Professor Ian Crawford on cosmic perspectives on world history.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details