Biocultural Human Skeletal Biology

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Biocultural Human Skeletal Biology

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Human Biology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    ((One of ARCH 101, ANTH 103, BIOL 112, CELS 191, HUBS 191, HUBS 192) and 36 further points) or 108 points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    An introduction to human bioarchaeology, particularly evolutionary and comparative anatomy of the human body, what makes it unique among other primates, and why it varies among populations. Includes aspects of forensic anthropology.

    What makes humans unique to all other primates, and how did we come to be that way? How can we explain the variation in morphology among human populations? How can we use aspects of the skeleton of past people to look at their life history? This course explores these questions by providing an introduction to the study of Biological Anthropology of the human skeleton. The course primarily focuses on the evolution, structure and function of the human skeletal system, with an introduction to bioarchaeological and forensic methods.

    Learning Outcomes
    - Developed an understanding of the biological basis for human variation
    - Developed a detailed understanding of human musculoskeletal anatomy, including the functional anatomy of joints and muscles, from bioarchaeological and forensic perspectives
    - Developed an understanding of primate comparative musculoskeletal anatomy and how this relates to human evolution
    - Develop an understanding of human bone and dental biology, specifically with regards to growth and development
    - Develop an understanding the biological basis of sexual dimorphism in humans and how sex estimation is established in bioarchaeology and forensic identification
    - Demonstrated the ability to observe, describe, interpret and communicate aspects of the human skeleton from a bioarchaeological, evolutionary and forensic perspective

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.